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its Mstk M\)} Mstb. 


gis miixii% attiJ W:0tlts. 


I. Ebert's Eeview of Sandras'S Etude swr Chaucer, considere 
commie Imitateur des Trouveres : translated by J. "W. van Eees 
HOETS, M.A., Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and revised by the 

n. A Thirteenth- Century Latin Treatise on the Chilindre — "For 
by my chilindre it is prime of day" (Shipmannes Tale) — 
edited, with a Translation, by Mr Edmund Brock, and illus- 
trated by a woodcut of the Instrument from the Ashmole MS, 



S^etxrttir ^ztm^ 2. 


Cl^^ C^aurer Somlg* 


During the years 1903-6, the Society's Editors did not 
enable it to issue any Text except the short No. 36, the Four- 
Days Journey from London to Canterhury and hack of the 
■ Aragonese Ambassadors in 1J^15, But several Subscribers 
generously continued to pay their Subscriptions, so that the 
Society has now rather more than £800 in hand to pay for its 
issues of 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 and 1907, five years. These 
issues will be dated 1907 or 1908, &c., the year in. which 
they are sent out, but about £200 worth of work will be 
assigned to each of the back years in which no Text was issued. 
The present volume. Prof. Tatlock's Development and Chronology 
of Chancers Works, will be taken as the second Text for 1903. 
It is hoped that Prof M^Cormick will soon issue two vols, for 
1904, and Miss Spurgeon and Miss Fox one — the Chaucer 
Allusions, 1360-1900, Pt. I— for 1905, with Prof Syphard's 
work on The Hous of Fame, which has been for some months 
in the printers' hands. So far as is possible, the money paid 
in for every year will be spent on Texts for that year; and 
these Texts will be sent to the payers of the money. 

The Announcements as to the issues for 1907 on the cover 
of Prof. Tatlock's volume will be alterd, in future Texts, so as 
to correspond with the Notice above. 


June U, 1907. 


Since tlie publication of Tyrwliitt's ^' Introductory Dis- 
aourse to the Canterbury Tales " no book bas appeared so 
fresb .and stimulating, on ibe sources of Cbaucer's works, 
as Monsieur E. G. Sandras's^ Etude sur Chaucer, We bave 
bad one English opinion — ^not tbe last, I trust — on tbis 
book, id Professor Morley's English Writers ; but as all 
our countrymen must needs be suspected of a strong a. 
priori inclination to take sides against a writer wbo so 
greatly detracts from tbe originality of our great poet, as 
M. Sandras does, I tbougbt it well to put before our mem- 
bers tbe judgment on tbis point of an impartial German 
critic, one of tbe ablest, if not tbe ablest, of tbe scholars of 
the Continent in such subjects — Professor Ebbrt. It is a 

1 Sound the final s, says a distinguished French Editor : sans 
drops means " without sheets." Follow tlie same rule in M. Paulin 
Paris's name. Compare in Henry Y. act 4, " Est-il impossible d' 
eschapper la force de ton Bras ? " Pistol. " Brass, cur, thou 
damned and luxurious mountain goat, off er'st me Brass ? " Cited 
by the Eev. Mr Bowie, in ArchcBologia, vi. 76,* with the following 
passage from ^Pasquier, who died at 87, in 1615:' — Voyant le 
monde par un jugement delicat mots proferez aveo toivtes leurs let- 
tres estre un peu trop rudes au son des aureilles, onreforma aulong 
aller cette grossiere fa§on de parler en une plus douce, et au lieu 
d'escholey estaMir, &c., aveo prononeiation de chaque lettre et ele- 
ment, Ton s'accoustuma de dire ecole, etahlir, &c., vray que tousjours 
est demeure I'ancien son en ces mots espese et esperer, mais pent 
estre que quelque jour viendront-ils au rang des autres, aussi bien 
que de nostre temps ce mot ^honneste (auquel en ma jeunesse j'ay 
veu prononcer la lettre de S) s'est maintenant tourne en vne E, forfe 
long. — Pasquier : BechercJies do la France, Iviii. oh. i. 676, ed, 
Paris, 1633, fol. 


judgment wMcb., I think, no English, student of Chaucer 
can read without interest and profit, whether lie accepts it 
as just or not. 

My old college-friend, ]\Jj Yan Eees Hoets, has heen 
kind enough, to translate Professor Ebert's review for us, 
and the author himself been so good as to revise the 

The reason for printing the second Paper in this Part is, 
that the meaning of the word cMlindre has long been lost, 
at least to editors of Chaucer. Some have read it calendar, 
others have left it out of their Glossaries, and the latest 
editor of the poet's works, having found it glossed stomach 
in one MS, naturally transferred the meaning to his Glossary, 
on the authority of that MS : '* GMlendre, sb. stomach (the 
reading of one MS.^)" Mr Edmund Brock — one of the 
Society's copiers, to whose care and skill the Early English 
Text Society is so largely indebted — Shaving found an early 
Latin treatise showing that the * stomach ' of the MS was 
in fact a kind of pocket sun-dial, it seemed well within the 
province of the Society to pubhsh this Treatise, with a 
woodcut of the instrument, and so prevent further miscon- 
ception of the word. 

All such Papers and Scraps, illustrating in any way the 
"Works, "Words, and Life of Chaucer, as are too short to be 
published separately, will find a place in these Essays, and 
I hope for the co-operation of our members in adding to 
the present papers. I am sure that all who belong to the 
Society will join with me in thanking Prof, Ebert, Mr 
Hoets, and Mr Brock, for the start that they have given 
to this section of our work. 


2nd Dec, 1868. 

^ The Harl. MS 1758, leaf 160, hack, reads : 

"ffor be my stomak it is pryme of the day." 

lis matiis m'ii maxlL 




(PARIS, DURAND, 1859) 


OCT. — DEC, 1861, PAGES 85 106, 



ERnriTr hall, cambeidgb, 




The central point of tliis interesting treatise on tlie 
Eatlier of English poetry, — of wliom we still want a com- 
plete (all-sided) and thoroughly weU-gronnded literary- 
historical estimate, — lies in the investigation of the sources 
of his smaller, allegorical poems, and in the examination 
of the influences which the contemporary French poets 
exercised on his poetical art (MnstleriscJie ThdtigJceit). In 
this hitherto much-neglected field of Chaucer's extensive 
and varied art-creation the author has been successful in 
making many new discoveries which are of no slight Kte- 
rary-historical interest, through the vistas which they open 
to us. It is thus that the addition to the title 
or explaius itself. 

A mere glance at the table of contents shows that the 
author has not confined himself to this field, but rather 
that he has taken into consideration the entire poetical pro- 
duction of Chaucer; and therefore also those poems of 
which Chaucer derived indeed the subject-matter from a 
French source, — ^but without imitating his origiaal (the 
source itself not being a " trouvere," that is, a French art- 
poet) — as well as those for which France furnished neither 
the material nor the example. The author appears to have 
not merely a too comprehensive notion of ^'imitateur^^ and 
*^ trouvere" but also, from patriotic motives (which, how- 


ever, are out of place in cosmopolitan science) seems to 
vindicate, more than is right, the extent of French in- 
fluence, great as it in reality was. We •will revert to this 
in particular instances. For we mean to accompany the 
author from the beginning, through his whole work, — ^tarry- 
ing here and there, in order to indicate briefly the most 
important results of his observations and investigations, — 
to interpolate our doubts and objections, and to add a few 
excursuses of our own. For in a treatise of (comparatively 
speaking) such small compass, an exhaustive treatment of 
the subject is not to be expected. The author merely 
touches and gives hints on his subject, but does not work 
it out thoroughly and comprehensively. He aims at no- 
thing else, at least in those cases in which he has to refer 
to his predecessors ; but though we regret the short and 
sketchy treatment of those parts where the author offers us 
new investigations or views, we must confess that, as a 
rule, his judgment is grounded on a profound study of 
Chaucer's works, and that his well-arranged and accurate 
work does not merely furnish us with an excellent sum- 
mary, but incites us to further investigation. 

The author prefaces his work with a biography of the 
poet. It is known that the number of well-established 
facts is small ; and the author has wisely shunned all that 
is mere hypothesis and rumour. There is, Irowever, in our 
estimation, material enough in combination with his works 
to represent to us the Great Poet in fixed outlines in such 
a manner that the internal coherence of the oft-conflicting 
traits of his poems is clearly perceptible. It appears to 
us a matter of the greatest importance that Chaucer's po- 
sition in life was such that he was not restricted within the 
narrow Hmits of a particular station or caste, and that For- 
tune favoured the complete unfolding of his rich individu- 
ality in its striving after freer development. Thus Chaucer 
did not belong exclusively either to the noble or to the 
civic class : a learned man of his time in the fullest sense 


of the word, lie nevertheless did not enter the clerical 
order ; educated for the Bar, he cast aside the pen and 
grasped the sword to prove his manly energy ; drawn into 
the highest court circles, possessing in an eminent degree 
the refinement peculiar to them, even cultivating that 
refinement as a poet, he yet did not allow himself to be 
fettered by these circles ; he goes to Italy on a political 
mission, in order to become acquainted, at the very source,^ 
with the new literary culture which was to make young 
again the poetry of the world — a knowledge of the utmost 
importance to him in his poetical development, and which 
has never yet been sufficiently valued. ^ "Whilst inter- 
course with foreign nations — for he sojourned also in 
Trance and the Ij^etherlands — gave, on the one hand, a 
general character to his education, on the other hand, hia 
later political position in his native country as a member 
of Parliament, and his office of Customs'-Inspector brought 
him into the most intimate relations, and into dixect inter- 
course, with his fellow-countrymen. ^If we consider these 
important facts in Chaucer's life, it will by no means sur- 
prise us to find in him, on the one hand, the knightly 
court-poet, well endowed with learning, and, on the other 
hand, the popular singer who delights to make known the 
practical wisdom of life;.) not unfrequently in the one 
quality doing homage to a really lofty (ahstracten) ideal- 
ism, and in the other to the most solid realism. These various 
elements often interweave themselves in his poems in a 
strange manner ; not unfrequently he drops involuntarily 
from the stately strain of loffcy idealism to one which is 
realistic and lowly, prosaic and homely ; even as the hearti- 
ness and artless originality of the Saxon speech is. cpn- 

^ Paul!, in liis Pictures of Old England, page 195, is an honour- 
able exception ; but be errs wben be derives tbe seven-line stanza 
from tbe octave, and regards it, moreover, as tbe pecuKar creation 
of tbe Englisb poet ; tbe old French lyrical poetry was already in 
possession of tbe stanza. (An example is also given by Sandras, p. 


stantly mixed in his style witli the refbed elegance of the 
romance language, polished already in artistical, learned, 
and courtly hands. On the other hand, there lies also in 
this double nature of the poet that ironical element which is 
one of the most charming and most peculiar of his poetical 
characteristics. Only in his most important and on-the- 
whole genuine original work, one of the most beautiful 
poetical monuments of. any age, those disjointed elements 
are welded together into one" lofty whole (MnJieit), which 
may therefore be considered as the result of the whole 
life and art culture of the man. That work, which sprimg 
really from the very kernel of the poet's nationality, yet 
lifts itself up far above his nation and his age ; yea, it 
stands forth out of the atmosphere of middle-age poetry, 
announcing a higher stage of art, like the works of his 
great Italian contemporaries. To them Chaucer is in- 
debted for his higher artistical culture, and through that, 
for the full development of his poetical individuality ; 
whilst he went only, as it were, to school to the middle- 
age French poets, his contemporaries, from whose traramels 
the example of the Italian poetry liberated him. 

The author does not direct our attention to this process 
of the development of Chaucer's poetical genius ; nor does 
he appear to be conscious of the great aesthetical difference 
between the poetry of a Boccaccio and that of a Guillaume 
de Lorris. As he is directly concerned with Chaucer's re- 
lation to Erench poetry, he fixes his eye mainly on the 
subjects of his works, whilst he endeavours to point out the 
sources whence Chaucer derived them ; and of these the 
greatest part was Erench. He begins in the second chapter 
with the " Eomance of the Eose," of which the translation 
(for such it partly is) certainly belongs to the earliest at- 
tempts of Chaucer's muse ; a view which Pauli shares (Pic- 
tures of Old England, p. 194). The origin of the allego- 
rical taste, the character of the remarkable work so im- 
portant in a literary-historical sense, as also the relation of 


the translation to the original, are pointed out in a brief 
but striking manner. The author justly stands up against 
the view taken by Warton, — which could only have been 
inspired by national vanity, — ^namely, that the translation 
was superior to the original. On the whole, the translation 
is rather marvellously faithful; but it is indeed excellent; 
since, in spite of its fidelity, it reads like an original. It 
is known that the French work comprising more than 
22,000 verses, has only been translated by Chaucer to verse 
13,105; the part appertaining to Guillaume de Lorris, 
composed in the spirit of knighthood as much as that by 
Jean de Meun is in the spirit of the bourgeoisie^ comprises 
only 4068 verses, which correspond with Chaucer's 4432 
verses. The part by Jean de Meun, comprising 9037 
verses, has been rendered by Chaucer in only 3267 ; whilst 
the other 9000 verses of the same French poet, the remain- 
ing part of the Romance, are left unnoticed. This little 
piece of statistics, which we ourselves have compiled, is 
instructive, and deserves more attention, which we can- 
not give at present. Some one ought to investigate what 
part of the second division has been omitted by Chaucer, 
what abridged, and what enlarged. We know of no such 
investigation, and yet it might be of manifold interest.^ It 
appears, however, from what has been said, that the 
knightly allegory — one may say, the allegory of love — 
had an altogether different charm for Chaucer than the 
satirico-didactic, and this, in spite of the rich satirical vein 
which he possessed, with a decided inclination for teaching. 
But only Guillaume's creation is clothed with that enamel 
of poetry which lends to the marble-cold allegorical figures 
an almost individual life in a manner truly marvellous, even 
as the statues amidst the shrubs of a beautiful garden under 
a southern sky are, as it were, inspired with life by the 

^ See however the article published, since this was written, by 
Mr ten Brink in the 8th Yol. of the Jahrb. filr roman-u-engl. Lit. 
1867, pag. 306. 


surromidmg objects of nature ; for Guillanme's landscape- 
paintings masterpieces of cliarming natural truthfulness, 
whilst Jean de Meun, although, rich in ideas, is wanting in 
the magic charm of poetical representation. It is moreover 
a proof of Chaucer's poetical, genius that he took the one for 
an example, and not the other, and that he did so, in spite 
of the special preference of his nation for satirical allegory, 
apparent even at that day, but more particularly in later 
times. How great was the influence of Guillaume on 
Chaucer is shown by the many reminiscences from his 
poetry which are found in the various works of Chaucer, 
as noticed by Sandras. 

In the third chapter the author examines the poems 
which, according to his view, have been derived from both 
French and Italian sources (poemes de source italienne et 
frangaise), " Troilus and Creseide " heads the series. This 
poem, translated from the Tilostrato of Boccaccio, although 
with alterations and additions, is reckoned by the author 
as coming under this head, because, in Benoit's poem of 
the Trojan war, this romantic love of the daughter of Cal- 
chas is first related, of which affair Dictys and Dares, in 
other respects Benoit's source, make no mention. There- 
fore the author is of opinion that Benoit is the inventor of 
the Fable, and thus also, at least indirectly, Chaucer's source. 
Moreover, Chaucer coincides clearly with Benoit (which 
the author does not mention) in some parts where he de- 
parts from the Filostrato, in the arrangement of the action 
of the poem. This appears in two very interesting extracts 
from the inedited works of Benoit, which the author 
produces amongst the Pieces justificativeSf at the end of the 
treatise, with the object of giving a general idea of the 
character of Benoit's work."" But it is known that Guido 

1 According to Chaucer (Book V. verse 113) as well as Benoit, 
Diomedes declares his love to Chryseis, whilst he is accompanying 
her from Troy to the Oreek camp, and immediately after she had 
parted from Troilus. Boccaccio might well consider this unseemly, 
especially as Diomedes' suit meets, in the end, with a favourable 



de Colonna (1287) was the first after Benoit who handled 
this love-storj, and that he did it with exactly the same 
features as the other. The author is forthwith prepared to 
make out Guido an imitator of Benoit. But our worthy 
fellow-labourer, M. Pey, has furnished us in this Journal 
(Jahrhuch fitr romanische und englische Literatur, vol. i. p. 
228 ^) with the important proof that Guido had before him 
the now lost original of Dares, and that, in all probability, 
it comprised that love-story in a more detailed form than 
the Latin translation of Cornelius ; to which we add that 
the invention of this Fable by Benoit, considering the 
manner in which it is interwoven in his work, is in the 
highest degree improbable.^ Whether, however, those 
points in which Chaucer, departing from the Filostrato, 
coincides with Benoit, are also to be found in Guido, it is 
not in my power to state, as unfortunately I have not the 
work at hand ; but the author [Sandras] leaves the whole 
affair in the dark, whilst he limits himself to the remark : 
" Le poete Anglais, outre le texte Italien, a eu sous les yeux, 
sinon Benoit de St Maure, certainement Guido, auquel il 
emprunte des details negliges par Boccace." One sees the 
author has by no means gone to the bottom of the matter, 
and has taken things too easily ; he takes no notice what- 
ever of that Introduction by Moland and d'Hericault to 

reception. According to him Diomedes does not open Ms heart to 
Chryseis till the fourth day after her arrival in the camp on occa- 
sion of a visit (Fil. vi. 9). The author, as already mentioned, has 
not troubled himself to point out this, though he has furnished 
material for it. 

^ On occasion of a review of the lutroduction to the NbuveZles 
Frangaises du 14* Si^cle, edited by Moland et d'Hericault (in 
which introduction the history of this Fable is given, as one of the 
novels is a translation of the Filostrato). 

2 The table of contents, comprising not less than 545 verses, 
which Benoit prefixes to his work, is given by Frommann, amongst 
many other extracts, in his Essay : Herbert von Fritzlar und Benoit 
de St Maure, in the Gfermania, ii. p. 53. There it may be seen how 
this love-story winds through the long poem, here disappearing, 
there emerging again, being neither the leading fable nor a mere 
episode ; if one or the other were the case, Benoit might perhaps, 
by disregarding everything else, be thought of as the inventor. 


wliicli we have alluded. And yet lie ought to have jus- 
tified the source frangaise. With reference to the additions 
which are peculiar to Chaucer, namely, those which are 
certainly his own invention, and which occupy no little 
space, the author suppHes still less accurate information, 
though the comparison which he has made of the two 
poems, the Pilostrato and the Troilus (with results by no 
means incorrect) gives occasion for a guess at the im- 
portance of the additions. Although I myself have for the 
greater part compared both poems, it is not my object to 
fill up this gap, which has, I dare say, been abeady done 
by others, — ^for example, by Douce, — whose work is not 
at my command. But with regard to the nature and im- 
portance of the additions, I will state briefly what I have 
observed. They consist, as a rule, in enlargements of the 
speeches, which already in the original occupy so great a 
space, and they concern mainly the part of Pandarus ; more- 
over, they are just those additions (namely, those of his own 
invention, and not drawn from other sources) which alter 
the characters, so that therefore tliis alteration belongs 
peculiarly to Chaucer. It is natural that the speeches 
should lay bare the whole character in the most searching 
manner ; hence it will be easily understood that the cha- 
racter of Pandarus would be capable of the greatest change. 
The other chief characters are indeed modified by Chau- 
cer, but that of Pandarus is altogether transformed ; and it 
is exactly this transformation which gives to Chaucer's 
poem, although in a great measure a literal translation, an 
altogether different colour, a totally different expression. 
At the same time, it will not be denied that omissions, as 
well as slight alterations in the narrative, partly his own 
invention, partly borrowed, have contributed to the trans- 
formation of the poem just pointed out, though in a 
much less degree. The chief things, however, are those 
interpolations of speeches, and in the speeches. But as 
Chaucer, after such interpolations, continues with a literal 


translation — for lie proceeds "with those omissions and 
alterations in a by no means systematic but in an altogether 
arbitrary manner — there arise, as may be easily imagined, 
the most extraordinary contradictions in the speeches them- 
selves, and still more in the characters. Thus Pandarus, 
though transformed from the cousin to the uncle of Chry- 
seis, though changed from the intimate youthful friend 
(who had somewhat the advantage over the demure Troilus, 
through a little more experience of life and love,) to a pro- 
saical and knagging mentor, inexhaustible in proverbs and 
parables, and humorously blustering in the full conscious- 
ness of his superiority — Pandarus remains notwithstanding 
an unhappy, languishing lover, as in Boccaccio ! If the 
part of pimp, which he plays in the poem of the latter, is 
by no means a worthy one — ^for which however some ex- 
cuse may be found in his youth and intimate friendship, — 
that of Chaucer's Pandarus must needs make a most un- 
favourable impression. This is, however, somewhat soft- 
ened by the fact that Chaucer makes this metamorphosed 
figure represent his own irony of the fantastical love of 
knighthood, the most decided and important feature of 
his work. Pandarus is in his way opposed to Troilus, 
as Sancho Panza is to Don Quixote ; and it is remark- 
able, though easily explained, that the one shares also 
with the other the passion for quoting proverb^ ! ^ To 
give at least one sample of this irony, and therewith to 
make apparent the difference between the two poems, 
I may mention how Pandarus, in order to gain over his 
niece to the suit of Troilus, after he had, according to 
Boccaccio, declared in furtherance of his object, that Troilus 
would otherwise die, is made to add — 

But if ye lat Mm deye?^, I wol sterve, 

Have here my trowth, and nece, I nyl nought lyew, 

^ Troilus himself mocks at it (lib. i. v. 755) : — 

But sujffre me my myschief to bywaylle, 
For thi proverbes may me nought avaylle. 


Al schold I witli this knyf my throte kerve ; 

With that the teres briste oute of his eighen, 
And sejd, if that ye don us both^ deyen 

Thus gilteles, than have ye fisshed fayre.^ 

That Cliaiicer's poem is altogether far behind the Filos- 
trato, in an sesthetical sense, will appear undeniable after 
what has been said. He is wanting in every respect in 
nnity, unity of composition as well as unity of delineation,, 
of character, and of style, the place of which is occupied by 
a strange kind of oUa podrida {Quodlihet), Of the Filos- 
trato, on the contrary, this unity of composition and style 
is the peculiar ornament. This poem, as well as the Tese- 
ide, — of which we shall speak more fully hereafter — has 
never been properly valued in sesthetical criticism, or in 
literary history ; on the contrary it has been on the whole 
rather neglected (how much, for instance, is said about it by 
Ginguene and Euth !) Having its origin in the love of the 
poet himself, to which it often bears witness, it is dis- 
tinguished by a truthfulness of feeling and* a force of pas- 
sion such as we rarely meet with in a work of art, and is 
represented with that picturesqueness of art which indicates 
an exuberance of fancy and a quickness of intuition, such 
as only a great poet possesses. I must bring forward an- 
other point which, so far as I know, has not before been 
noticed. When Chaucer incorporates a sonnet of Petrarch's 
in one of the monologues of Troilus, he had in this respect 
also (at least in a general sense) Boccaccio for an example. 
For we find in the letters of Troilus stanzas of the same 
lyrical character, which, if they have not been derived from 
particular sonnets, might easily be changed into such.^ 

1 Lib. ii, Y. 322. \_Morris, iv. 166.] Compare with this also v. 351 : — 
And also thynke wel that [this] is no gaude, 
For me were levere that thow, and I, and he 
Were hanged, than I sholde ben his baude, 
As heigh as men migkte on us alle ysee. 
^ Such passages, however, remind us rather of Dante's than oJ 
Petrarch's Lyrics. See, by way of example, P. ii. st. 99 : 
E che ch'io f accia, I'imagine bella 
Di te sempre nel cor reca un pensiero, 
Che ogn' altro caccia che I'altro f avella 
Che sol di te, benche d'altro nel vero 


Emiliano-Giudici lias noticed with justice liow tliis aesthetic- 
ally most important epic of Boccaccio indicates also in a 
marked manner the great influence of Dante on this poet. 
On the other hand, so far as I know, attention has never 
been directed to this fact, how, namely, the Filostrato, which 
exhibits the octave (which first makes its appearance in the 
Teseide) in a high and often quite perfect form, was not 
only a special model, in respect of form, to the succeed- 
ing epic poets, but also served as a pattern to the most 
important of them, Poliziano, in delineating the character 
of his hero, who reminds us of Troilus in a most strik- 
ing manner.^ 

But let us return, after this somewhat long digression, 
to the Etude of Monsieur Sandras. He next takes into 
consideration The KnigMes Tale, under the title " Ar- 
cite and Palamon." Although a special section — the 
second half of the book — is devoted to the Canterbury 
Tales, the author is justified in taking this poem out 
of that collection, because Chaucer makes mention of it 
in " The Legende of Good Women," as a separate work, 
under the title ^' The Love of Palamon and Arcite," so that 
at a later time only can it have been incorporated, with the 
necessai'y modifications, in the cycle of the Canterbury Tales. 
As to the question in what these modifications may have 
consisted, especially whether Chaucer had originally trans- 
lated the Teseide fully into " the love of Palamon and 
Arcite," the author disposes of it briefly with this remark : 
" Les changements qu'a subis la fable elle-m^me, permettent 

Air anima non caglia, fatta ancella 
Del tuo valor, nel quale io solo spero, &c. 
* This is not the place to enter on a proof of mj assertion i and 
it is scarcely necessary for those who are acquainted with both 
poems. But I cannot refrain from giving a singularly striking 
parallel passage. Troilus in Filostrato, P. i. st. 22 : Che e a porre 
in donna alcuno amore 1 Che come al vento si 'colge lafoglia — 
Cost in un dl hen mille volte il core — Bi lor si volge, etc. 
Giuliano, in Poliziano, Stanze L. i. st. 14. Quanto e meschin 
colui che cangia voglia — Per donna . . . Che sempre e piu 
leggier ch^al vento foglia,~E mille volte il dt vuole e disvnole, etc. 


de siipposer que tout d'abord Chaucer n'a pas ete plus es- 
clave de la forme, et que le Recit du Chevalier, debarrasse 
d'incidents qui n'allaient pas au but, est a peu pres la redac- 
tion primitive." We may agree with the premises without 
assenting to the a peu pres. The whole plan of the Teseide, 
which, if we regard the principal fable, exhibits so many hors- 
d'ceuvres, surely called for abridgment ; but that Chaucer's 
first treatment held more to the original, had more the 
character of a translation, and was therefore more detailed^ 
appears to me certain. This is evident from the literally 
translated passages scattered throughout the poem, which 
appear to me remains of the first version, and which were 
left untouched in the second revision. Tyrwhitt has 
already, in his notes, pointed out the greater part of those 
passages ; not, however, some shorter and altogether frag- 
mentary ones, and just these are perhaps of special use in 
confirmation of our view.^ That our author should 
this poem under this head, — that, namely, he should reckon 
it under the works of Chaucer which were derived from 
both French and Italian sources — is justified by him in a 
manner still less satisfactory than in the case of Troilus, 
which we have noticed. Let us see how the author pro- 
ceeds in order to mount up to Boccaccio's original ! In the 
first place he rejects the view that the Teseide is a transla- 
tion of the poem Orjaeog ical yafioi Tfjg 'EjuryX/ac, published 
at Venice in 1529, as was first maintained by G-ranucci, 
whilst, on the contrary, the latter poem is a translation of 
the Teseide. The author is quite right here ; but he has 
troubled himself needlessly ; for Warton, so often cited by the 
author, has proved the same thing, and on exactly the same 
grounds, long ago. It is true that Granucci's mistake has 
been repeated more recently, and that by a learned man of 

^ Compare, for instance, Canterbuiy Tales, ed. Tyrwhitt, v. 1665, 
The destines, ministre general, and Teseide, vi. st. 1, L'aUa minis- 
tra del niondo, Fortuna ; and moreover it should be noticed that 
the expression ministre general gives no correct sense, not in con- 
nection with what follows, and still less in itself. 


note ; but it was clearly a lapsus calami. It would there- 
fore have been sufficient to have reminded us merely of 
Warton's investigation. (For the rest the author adds a 
fresh example to that furnished by Warton from the Greek 
poem.) Thus far every one will agree with the author. 
Eut what does he go on to say ] To assume an older Greek 
text is for the author an hypothesis without foundation (hy- 
pothese sansfondement)^ since it would require another hypo- 
thesis, that of a Latin translation ; as Boccaccio knew very 
little Greek at the time he composed the poem. There is 
therefore, says he, no proof that Boccaccio took his subject 
from the Greek ; on the other hand, he is also not the in- 
ventor, according to his own confession.* "Mais qui a 
imagine la fable] Telle qu'elle se presente, avec les couleurs 
que Boccace parait lui avoir en partie conservees ; je la rat- 
tacherais au cycle greco-romain ; je lui ferais une place entre 
le Eoman de Thebes et celui de Troie. Au lieu de nous 
laisser aller aux conjectures, il est jplus sage de former des 
voeux pour la decouverte d^un texte qui nous dise que cette 
charmante fiction est nee de notre soV^ (p. 55). And has the 
author ventured, in consequence of this pious wish, to rank 
Chaucer's poem, copied from the Teseide, amongst the works 
derived partly Tfom French sources % Truly, 80 pages fur- 
ther on he ventures on something more, when he says : 
" Chaucer a imite le Filostrato et la These^'de, poemes qui 
sont. Tun certainement (? !), T autre vraisemhlement d^origine 
francaiseT It is an instructive example to notice how these 
mistakes in the field of literary history arise, and, are wont 
to grow. And not a few have sprung from just such patriotic 
wishes ! But however wide the limits of the dominion of 

1 This appears from a passage in Boccaccio's letter to Fiammetta, 
in which he dedicates the Teseide to her, and may here be quoted 
as being of such importance in the following investigation : trovata 
una antichissima storia, e al jpiu delle genti non manifesta, bella 
SI per la materia, della quale parla, che e d'amore, e si per coloro, 
de' quali dice che nobili giovani furono e di real sangue discesi, in 
latino volgare e in rima acGioceJie fpiil dilettasse, e massimamente a 
voi. . . desiderando di piacervi, ho ridotta. (Ed. Florence, 1831.) 


Erencli influence in the middle ages, — and we acknowledge 
that French literature possessed at that time the command of 
the world, — ^we are nevertheless nnable to share the hope 
of the author in the case before us. Kather, in our es- 
timation, there cannot be the least doubt, after a close 
examination, that Boccaccio's poem flowed from a Greek 
source.^ The whole character of the Eable, in its general 
as well as in its particular features, points to a Greek 
origin. [N'ot merely is the scene in Greece, but the poem 
stands in the closest relation to the Hero legends of that 
land ; yea, has evidently been called forth by the recollec- 
tion of them : the principal heroes of the poem — one of 
whom, Palemon, is no doubt called after a descendant of 
Cadmus, the son of Ino — are cousins, and " the last of The- 
ban blood " (Tes. v. st. 59), being withal the most intimate 
friends, who love each other as brothers; their combat, which 
at Palemon 's desire was originally to have been for life or 
death, reminds us of the combat of the brothers Eteokles 
and Polynikes, as well as of that of the cousins Laodamas 
and Thersander ; Theseus's expedition to Thebes is described 
in the second of the two introductory Eooks of the poem ; 
at the conquest of Thebes both the friends became his pri- 
soners. I will merely call to mind here the constant and 
numerous allusions to the legends of Thebes and Troy, 
which presuppose the most intimate acquaintance with 
them in all their particulars, not only in the poet, but (and 
this should be specially noted) also in the reader. I do not 
however lay so much stress on this, as it might occur to some 
one or other to place them all to the account of Boccaccio, 
an objection which (for want of space) I should not be able 
to refute in every particular instance.^ Greek mythology 

1 Nat direct, but from Statins, says Mr Ward ; and he'U i)roYe 
it,— F. 

^ To give at least one example of such allusions : Emilie bestows 
amongst other things, a chain on Palemon, the peculiar qualities of 
which are merely indicated by comparing it with that of Amphia- 
raus. Tes. ix. st. 70 : 



also is not merely intermingled with, tlie fable in a general 
way, but, wbat is far more important for our proof, is nnited 
with it in the most intimate manner. The catastrophe it- 
self is a work of the gods. The Fury " Erinnys " appears 
at the command of Yenns ; and at her terrible appearance 
the horse of Arcite shies, so that, overbalancing himself, he 
wounds his rider mortally. Venus and Mars, the one the 
tutelar deity of Palemon, the otber of Arcite, had agreed 
between themselves, according to tbe manner of the Ho- 
meric gods, as to the issue of the combat. But it is still 
more important that the poem does not show even a trace 
of Christianity ; rather, the religious consciousness which it 
displays appertains throughout to Greek paganism. The 
highest world-power is Fortuna, Fate. This observation, 
which requires no proof here, as the reading of the poem 
itself confirms it (see, for instance, vi. 1 ; vii. 1 ; also v. 
80, etc.), leads necessarily to the important result that the 
composition of the original reaches back to a more remote 
age, as the poet who wrote it was evidently not a Christian. 
The manners and customs also are throughout Greek, and 
so are the sacrifices in the temples, the oracles, the funeral 
solemnities with their combats. And this adoration of the 
gods and the departed occupies whole' songs, and is repre- 
sented in the minutest detail. The decisive duel itself, 
with its triumphal procession, is no western tournament, 
but a combat in the circus (teatro), fought out, not by the 
two antagonists alone, who hardly meet together in person 
at all, but by whole multitudes who follow them.^ This 

Appresso una collana simigliante 

A quella, per la qual si seppe il loco 

U Anfiarao si staya latitante, 

Lieta gli die, dicendo, etc., etc. 
This allusion, for instance, cannot be Boccaccio's work, for we 
should then have to accept the whole passage to which it refers as 
being his invention — which, for many reasons, is highly improbable. 
* Arcite obtains the victory, whilst Palemon is bitten and thrown 
on. the ground by a horse of Cronis (one of his antagonists), which 
recollects having eaten men {phi. si Hcordava gli uomini mangiar')^ 
Tes. viii, st. 120. 


last circumstance may perhaps serve to fix more accurately 
tlie time wlieii the original was composed. Might it not 
refer to the faction-fights of the circus at Constantinople? 
We should then have more reason to regard the close of 
the 5th century as the time when it was written. Boc- 
caccio himself also points in the 2nd stanza of his poem to 
an earlier age, as well as to a Greek source.^ In my 
opinion, to speak briefly, a Greek Eomance in prose 
was Boccaccio's source. The prose composition of the 
original is indicated by the expression "storia," which 
Boccaccio also employs in the introductory letter to Fiam- 
metta to designate the original ; likewise also by the e in 
rima of that introduction;^ and still more surely by the 
composition of the whole, as well as the treatment of par- 
ticular parts. ^ At the same time we find here again the 
peculiar characteristics of the Greek Eomance^ about which 
M. du Meril has enlarged with as much learning as critical 
acumen in the introduction to his edition of Floire et 
Blanoeflore, and just those which are of an altogether ob- 
jective nature ; such are the falling in love at first sight 
(des la premiere rencontre T amour e elate subitement, comT 
me un coup de tonnere, 1. 1, cxxiv.), the solution by a deus 
ex machind, the prediction of the end, the deguisements 
(compare 1. 1., especially cxcv.). It is also certain that 

* The author does not appear to have paid the least attention to 
this : — 

Che m' e venuta voglia con pietosa 
Eima di scriver una sto7'ia antica, 
Tanto negli anni riposta e nascosa, 
Che latino aut or non 'par ne dica^ 
Per quel cli'io senta, in lihro alcuna cosa. 
If therefore the " storia " is so old that no Latin writer speaks of it, 
it must needs follow that it was written by a Greek. 

^ See note 1, page 17. These words {e in- rima) are wanting in 
older editions ; for instance, that of the Parnaso Italiano : Yenezia, 
1820, vol. XV. 

^ The latter is of a decided prosaical nature. See, for instance, 
Tes. V. St. 20, &c. Such passages are strikingly different in tone 
from the rest of the performance, as they are nothing but versified 
prose. As regards the composition, however, it is necessary to bear 
in mind the first two books, and their relation to the whole. 


the heroes display refinement of culture and regard 
for what is expedient (see the speeches of the two 
friends, iv. st. 45) j hufc these might be put to the 
account of Boccaccio. Lastly, it may be observed that also 
the sesthetical fundamental idea of the work, the conflict 
of love with friendship, bears witness to its Greek origin, 
in which respect our fable reminds us of " Athis and Pro- 
philias." ^ With regard to the question whether Boccaccio 
was in a position to work after a Greek original, it may be 
answered in the negative, for the knowledge of the original 
may easily have been imparted to him by means of a Latin 
translation, perhaps made for this very purpose, a process 
for which other examples even of a documentary nature are 

But that, after what has been stated, it is impossible to 
think of a French origin of the Fable of Teseide, will, I trust, 
be conceded by every reader ; perhaps also that it is diffi- 
cult to believe with the author that Boccaccio, in his por- 
trait of Emilia, copied the Lady Oyseuse of Guillaume de 
Lorris, the allegorical figure of the Eomance of the Eose. 
The resemblance is indeed striking ; both, clad in green, 
wear a wreath ; both have light (blonde) hair, a straight 
nose, a small mouth, a chin with a dimple, and arched eye- 
brows with a wide space between.^ This last feature is re- 

* See, concerning the latter poem, Du Meril, 1. 1, cxxiii. ; W. 
Grimm, in the Transactions of the Berhn Academy, 1846, p. 394, 
&c., and in Haupt's Journal, xii. p. 185, &c. 

=^ I am not in a position to enter on the difficult inquiry how 
Boccaccio may have gone to work in his treatment of the Greek 
source. The question is all the more difficult as it is impossible to 
know what transformation the original work may have undergone in 
a Latin version, which it is very likely that Boccaccio employed. 
It is known that the description of the abode of Mars (book vii.) is 
taken from the Thehais of Statins ; and in the choice of words 
Boccaccio follows Statins so closely that he must have had the 
original before him, or at all events a Latin version. 

^ Sorcis votis— Son entr'oil ne fus pas petis— Ans iert assez grans 
par mesure. . . Sotto la quale (sc. fronte) in volta tortuosa — 
quasi di mezzo cerchio terminata — Eran due ciglia . . che una 
lata — Bianchezza si vedea lor dividendo (Tes. xii. st. 55) ;— arched 
eyebrows were a special characteristic of the Byzantine style of art ! 


markable in itself, and still more so in the coincidence of the 
two poets, and therefore demands a thorough consideration, 
especially as one cannot assent to the apparently so simple 
and yet so improbable explanation of the author.^ 

Lastly, the author rejects most justly the English view, 
namely, that Chancer has improved on the original in his 
■treatment of the Teseide. Exactly the reverse is the case.^ 
He has, in reality, diminished its poetic merit, and not 
even in the interest of a prosaic probability. His poem 
is more nnpoetical, and at the same time less true. 
The idea of the fable is spoiled, its finest features 
are omitted, — for instance, that Palemon, when looking 
for Arcite in the wood, in order to dp battle with him, and 
finding him sleeping, waits till he awakes of his own 
accord ; prosaical motives occupy the place of poetical ones, 
&c. . In short, in the opinion of an unprejudiced person, of 
even the least sesthetical culture, there can be no question 
as to which poet deserves here the prize. This question, 
however, has in itself no interest; rather this other: how 
did it happen that Chaucer, whom as a poet we value as 
high as* Boccaccio, should have acted thus ? I know not 
if this question has been already answered, or even sug- 
gested. To answer it thoroughly would be not merely of 
interest, but of importance. There are three points which 
should be postulated in treating this subject :' 1st, Chaucer's 
peculiar poetical individuahty in opposition to that of Boccac- 
cio ; 2nd, The difference of his culture, not only from that 

1 Want of space prevents me at present from entering on this in- 
vestigation, but I hope to find another opportunity for it ; and, in 
addition, to consider another parallel passage, the description of the 
garden of Yenus, by Guillaume de Lorris and Boccaccio. But let 
it be remarked here, that the influence of Byzantine literature on 
that of Western Europe has, for the greater part, not yet been de- 
termined ; and that influence is far greater, that is, deeper, than is 
suspected. No one can be surprised at the great blank which in- 
dicates the extent of our knowledge in that direction, when we con- 
sider how little even the Latin literature of the middle ages is 
known, investigated, and valued. 

2 Mr Henry Ward has something to say on this point. See also 
Prof. Morley's JEnglish Writers, vol. ii. Pt. 1. — F. J. F. .. . 


of Boccaccio, but, wliat is of more importance, from that 
out of which the Teseide sprang ; Srd, The internolation of 
the poem in the cycle of the Canterbury Tales, which not 
only necessitated some important abridgments, but also a 
modification in the recital, on account of the character of 
the narrator (the knight) and his surroundings. Chaucer 
loas obliged to gire, as it were, a middle-age version of this 
antique-modern story. As related by Boccaccio it would 
in no way have fitted the mouth of his knight; but I 
doubt, at the same time, whether Chaucer, even had he 
acted independently, could or would, on the whole, have 
treated the subject in a different manner, considering the 
difference of his culture and individuality ; and thus an 
accurate comparison of the two poems with respect to the 
second point we have noticed, might furnish also a proof 
in favour of the Greek origin of the fable. 

Lastly, the Court of Love and the Asserrible of Foules^ are 
brought forward amongst the poems derived from both 
Italian and French sources. In the first, the portrait of 
Bosiall is said to be a copy of the Emilia of the Teseide, 
of which it certainly reminds us much more than Emilia 
herself of Dame Oyseuse. At the same time, however, 
Rosiall shows many peculiar traits, which, because they 
are far from those of an ideal beauty, make it mani- 
fest to me that the poet was drawing the picture of a 
fair one dear to his heart, even though, in many respects, 
he idealized it, and then perhaps after the pattern of 
Emilia. Moreover, this is perhaps another indication that 
the hero of the poem^ Philogenet, is Chaucer himself. 
But we are not able, with the author, to find in the prayer 
addressed to Yenus an imitation of a passage in the Filps- 
trato (iii. st. 74, &c.), scarcely even a reminiscence of it. 
With regard to the French sources of this poem, the 
author refers to the Romance of the Eose (ed. Meon, i. p. 

^ Mr Bradshaw does not allow The Court of Love to be 
Chaucer's. — F. 


83) in tlie case of tlie Statutes of Love, and to Conde's 
Debat des Chanoinesses et Bernardines in that of the Parle- 
nient of Briddes. Here, however, we may go further than 
the author, and believe that Chaucer was indebted to 
French examples for the very idea of the poem, whilst they 
on their part followed the lead of the Latin allegorical 
poetry. I refer, in the first case, by way of example, to 
the " Paradise of Love," of which mention is made by Le 
Grand d'Aussy (3rd ed. ii. 254), and to which I have directed 
attention on another occasion (Jahrbuch, vol. ii. 297) ; 
and in the other case to the ArcMtrenius of Johann von 
HauteviUe, in which the palace of Yenus and Cupid is de- 
scribed. With regard to the Assemble of Foules, an inter- 
esting discovery is brought forward by the author. The 
roundel sung by the birds (v. 673, &c.), whose note ymakid 
was in Fraunce, and of which the first verse, according to 
Chaucer, ran thus : Qui hien aime a tard ouhlie, has been 
found by the author, together with the music, in a manu- 
script of Machault's. Besides this Eondeau, the author 
mentions also a ballad strophe of E. Deschamp's, which has 
exactly the same refrain. 

In the fourth chapter the author passes on to the study 
of the poems derived exclusively from French sources. He 
introduces the subject by pointing out the above-mentioned 
Machault, the poet to whom Chaucer, in this particular 
branch, owes the most, as the chief representative of the 
French poetry of the 14th century, namely, that Epigoni-^ 
poetry, of a courtly-allegorical style, and he endeavours to 
get him acknowledged as such. Guillaume de Machault 
(1295-1377) has been so little noticed until the present 

* Epigoni QEwiyovoi), that is, the heirs or descendants. By this 
name ancient mythology understands the sons of the seven heroes 
who had undertaken an expedition against Thebes, and had perished 
there. Ten years after that catastrophe, the descendants of the 
seven heroes went against Thebes to avenge their fathers, and this 
war is called the war of the Epigoni. . . The war of the Epigoni 
was made the* subject of epic and tragic poems. L. Schmitz, in 
Smith's Diciionary, — F. 



time that his name has not once heen recorded in literary 
history. Froissart was, according to our author, not merely 
a pupil, but an imitator {copiste) of Machault — a too severe 
judgment in our opinion ; it was he, however, who succeeded 
in niaking the poetry of his master familiar to England, and 
even at court. Those of Chaucer's poems in whichhis influence 
appears, are all of a courtly character, and have a special 
reference to the Lancaster family. In Chaucer's Dreame ^ 
the chief poetical ornaments of which are Keltic legends 
partly through the medium of the Lais of Marie de France, 
the starting-point is said to be borrowed from Machault's 
Dit duLyon^; but for this no proof is furnished. The 
"Book of the Duchess" appears, according to the re- 
searches of the author, a most remarkable piece of Mosaic, 
composed chiefly of reminiscences from the Eomance of the 
Rose and Machault's two poems la Fontaine amoureuse and 
le Remede de Fortune. On this point there is no lack of 
interesting and convincing proofs. For the idea of that 
charming poem the Flower and the Leaf^ Chaucer is in- 
debted to Eustache Deschamps (1340 — 1410), a pupil and 
nephew of Machault. In two ballads, — one of which', 
brought to light by Tarbe, is dedicated to Philippa of Lan- 
caster ; the other, first published here by Sandras, — Des- 
champs compares the flower with the leaf, and gives the prize 
to the flower; in a third (as yet unpublished) ballad, he, like 
Chaucer, gives it to the leaf. But the commencement of 
Chaucer's poem is imitated from Machault's Dit du Vergier, 
in some places even with a literal rendering ; the conclusion 
reminds one of the Lai du Trot. With all this the 
author justly praises the poem, since the principal idea is 
developed with perfect spontaneity, in a manner peculiar 
to the poet. With regard to the Complaint of the Black 

' Which is clearly not Chaucer's, says Mr Bradshaw, and I think 
so too. — F. J. F. 

2 It is certainly not so borrowed, says M. Paul Meyer. — F. 
^ Mr Bradshaw does not allow this poem to be Chaucer's. — F. 


Knight,^ wMcIi poem is exactly like Froissart's Dit du hleu 
dievalier, the author abstains from giving an opinion as to 
the question of priority. The French origin of the poem^ 
" The Cuckoo and the Mghtingale" is easily to be recog- 
nized by the cry of the latter, Ocy, Ocy ; and still more^by 
means of the explanation of it (v. 131, &c.). Though the 
author conjectures the same origin in the case of Chaucer's 
A B C, he is not able to point to the precise original, which 
however the Chevalier de Chatelain, thejatest translator of 
the Canterbury Tales, has succeeded in doing (Yol. iii. of 
this translation, 1861) : it is a hitherto unknown poem of 
Guillaume de Guilleville. 

In the 5th chapter the author considers briefly Chaucer's 
imitation of the ancients in Annelida and Arcite, the Legende 
of good Women, and the House of Fame. As to the first 
poem, of which the source is to a great extent obscure, the 
author is not able to give any new explanation ; as regards 
the others, we are obliged, for want of space, to refer to the 
book itself. 

For the same reason we can only refer very briefly to the 
most important points in the second part of the treatise, 
which is entirely devoted to the celebrated Tales. Besides, 
here the author's statements, as he himself declares, rest in 
reality on the studies of his predecessors. The author be- 
lieves that the idea of the composition of the Canterbury 
Tales is not due to the Decameron, but to the DiscvpUna 
dericalis, and the Eomance of the Seven Wise Men. "No 
real proof whatever is given. To me this view is by no 
means obvious ; I rather discover in it a fresh proof of that 
misconception or undervaluing of the importance of Italian 
art as contrasted with that of the middle ages, which France 
represents in such power and fulness, — to which I have 
already alluded. The author delineates in the first place 
the forms and characters of the pilgrims, whilst he inter- 

^ More generally called The Complaynte of a Loveres Lyfe (ed. 
Morris, vi. 235). Mr Bradshaw holds that it is not Chaucer's. — F. 


weaves ample and well-translated extracts from tlie poem, in 
liis elegant sketchy and draws attention, here and there, to 
analogous characteristics of the Trouveres. Even here he still 
discovers reminiscences from the Eomance of the Eose, bnt 
not always with justice, though such parallel passages are 
nevertheless of considerable interest.^ Lastly, he considers 
the sources of the Tales, distinguishing them in three 
classes : Legends, Breton Lays, and Fabliaux : to which is 
added, by way of supplement, a fourth class, embracing all 
the remaining tales. As to the way in which Chaucer 
availed himself of these sources, the author in conclusion 
sums up his opinion to this effect : " J'ai constate que, 
dans les legendes, le poete suit ordinairement le texte ; que, 
dans les lais bretons, il mele 1' erudition et la satire a I'ele- 
ment chevaleresque j qu'enfin, dans les fabliaux, tout en 
se conformant au canevas primitif, il devient createur, a la 
maniere de La Fontaine, dans I'apologue, par la poesie des 
details, par 1' eloquence si variee qu'il prete aux differents 
personnages, etpar la profondeur et la v6rite des caracteres." 
As the last sentence shows, the author knows well enough 
how to acknowledge Chaucer's poetical merits, even though 
he may not always have known where to discover them ; 
and it is by no means his object to put Chaucer in the 
shade ; but since it is the special design of his book to 
point out what, and how much, Chaucer owed to FrencJi 
poetry (which, in fact, the title indicates in the one-sided or 
(exaggerated addition : ^^ imitateur des tj^ouveres^^), he allows 
himself to be carried away too easily in rejecting, on the 
one hand, other influences, when they come into collision 
with the French, and in ascribing, on the other hand, to 
the latter a greater importance than is due to them. This 

* Thus, in describing the dress of the Sc[uier, Chaucer is said to 
have copied the garments of the " Dieu d'amours." For in Chaucer 
(v. 89, &c.) we read : " Emhrouded was he, as it were a mede — 
alle full of freshe floures, white and rede ; " in the Romance of the 
Rose (v. 887, &c.) : Fu la Robe de toutes pars— Portraite et ovree 
de flors— Par diversete de colors. Flors i avait de maintes guises, 


sho^s itself again in this section of the book. Thus in one 
place the author believes that Chaucer had probably not 
known the Decameron at all — ^he who did not merely avail- 
himself of so many of Boccaccio's works, but actually 
translated them ! Subjects which have been treated by 
FabKaux-poets and by Boccaccio, are put down as inven- 
tions of the former, made use of by Boccaccio and 
Chaucer, whilst, in fact, the only thing that is certain is 
a priority in the treatment of the subject, which may have 
had quite a different origin, and may therefore have come 
to Boccaccio and Chaucer through different channels. In- 
stead of assertions it would have been better to have given 
proofs ! Thus, for instance, M. Sandras says it is falsely 
maintained that Chaucer, in the Prankleyn's Tale, had 
copied Boccaccio's novel of the Magic Garden, which he 
put forth first in Filocapo, and afterwards abridged in the 
Decameron, x. 5, because the fact is that both have drawn 
from the same source. Chaucer, M, Sandras goes on to say^ 
mentions the source of the tale : a Breton Lay. And, we 
ask, does Boccaccio mention the same ? !N"o. The con-, 
elusion therefore is premature, and without further proof, 
false. Chaucer may have drawn from the Breton Lay, 
as Tyrwhitt also thinks ; but it does not follow that 
Boccaccio also did j on the contrary, it is even possible that 
he took the subject from a source which, in fact, was the 
source of the Lay itself ! 

Interesting as is the Treatise of M. Sandras, and little 
as he is wanting in new and Well-estabhshed results, it is 
nevertheless advisable to accept his statements only with 
the necessary critical caution. 



C H I L I N D R E 



^bmxtttir %xotk. 

[C H I L I N D R E] 

[From Ashmole MS 1522, leaf 181, back.] 



Gotli now 3oiir way, quod he al stille and softe, 
And let vs dyne as sone as ^e may, 
ffor by my chilindre it is prime of day*. 

Chaucer, SUpman's Tale, Harl. MS 7334, leaf 196, bk. 

Passed tbe tbrop of Bowtoii on-f^ ble, 
By my chilyndre I gan anon to se, 
Thorgh Y Sonne fat ful cler gan sliyne, 
Of J>e clok that it drogh to nyne. 

Lydgate, Siege of Thebes^ Arundel MS 119, leaf 18. 

The Chilindre (cMUndrus^) or cylinder is one of the 
manifold forms of the sun-dial, very simple in its construc- 
tion, but rude and inaccurate as a time-shower. According 
to the following treatise, it consists of a wooden cylinder, 
with a central bore from top to bottom, and with a hollow 

* Mr Skeat says : — Prime of day by the chilindre can only mean 
the endy not the beginning, of the first hour ; for the beginning of 
the first hour is simrise^ when no chilindre is needed, or can be 
used. But at the end of the first hour the shadow comes to the 
mark 1. The time then is 7 A.M., if at the equinoxes ; 5.7 A.M., 
if at midsummer ; and 8.46 A.M., if at midwinter ; unless prime 
be taken for the first quarter of the day, ending at 9 A.M. at the 

^ The form ehilindrus, not eyli7idrus, is used throughout the 
tract in the three British Museum copies, and, to judge from the 
extracts given in the catalogues, in other copies also. The same 
form of the word is retained as late as 1524, as the following ex- 
tract shows : Sed umbram uersam uocamus umbram, quam res 
horizontis superficiei sequidistans efficit in superficie orthogonali 
super horizontem : uelut est umbra stili in pariete aut cMlindro. 
Elucidatio Fabricce Vsusque Astrolahii, loanne Stoflerino .... 
aut ore, Fol. Oppenheim, 1524, leaf 69. I consider these sufficient 
grounds for retainiug cMlindre as a special name for this iustru- 


space in the top, into whicli a moveable rotary lid witli a 
little knob at tbe top is fitted. This lid is also bored in the 
centre, and a string passed through the whole instrument. 
Upon this string the chilindre hangs when in use. The 
style or gnomon works on a pin fixed in the lid. When 
the instrument is in use, the style projects at a right angle 
to the surface of the cylindrical body, through a notch in 
the side of the lid, but can, at pleasure, be turned down and 
slipt into the central bore, which is made a little wider at 
the top to receive it. The body of the chilindre is marked 
with a table of the points of the shadow, a table of degrees 
for finding the sun's altitude, and spaces corresponding 
to the months of the year and the signs of the zodiac. 
Across these spaces are drawn six obKque hour-lines. To 
ascertain the time of day by the chilindre, consider what 
month it is, and turn the lid round till the style stands 
directly over the corresponding part of the chilindre ; then 
hold up the instrument by the string so that the style 
points towards the sun, or, in other words, so that the 
shadow of the style falls perpendicularly, and the hour 
will be shown by the lowest Hne reached by the shadow. 

The text of this little treatise, now printed for the first 
time, is taken from Arundel MS 292. It has been col- 
lated, for the purpose of correcting and completing it, with 
two other copies, one in Egerton MS 843^^ the other in 
Cotton MS Yitellius A i. At least three other copies 
exist, one at Cambridge in the University Library MS li. 
i. 13, another in Oxford University MS xli., a third in 
Ashmole MS 1522. 

There is a paragraph on the marking of the chilindre in 
Cambridge Univ. MS li. i. 15,^ which Mr Bradshaw was 
kind enough to copy and send me through Mr Furnivall ; 

^ This MS once belonged to Dan Michel of Korthgate, Canter- 
bury, the author of the Ayenhite of Inwyt^ and still bears his 
cypher, the same as that in his autograph MS of the Ayenhite, 
Arundel MS 67. The cypher consists of a capital M and L com- 
bined, with a smaller I above. See Catalogue of Camb. Univ.,MSSi 


but, as it differs little from a part of the present tract on 
the same subject, I have not considered it necessary to 
print it here. Another copy of this is contained in Camb. 
Univ. MS Hh. yi. 8, and a third in Egerton MS 843. 
Additional MS 24,010 contains a treatise on the use of the 
sphere, written in 1551 or 1552, part of which is headed 
Fahricatio Horolog[{]orum. In this at leaf 61, back, I 
find the following direction, accompanied by a square 
diagram ' showing how to mark the cylinder, and a sketch 
of the complete instrument : — 

Compositio CyUndri, 

Ducafcur in piano quadratum, idque secundum latitudinem 
diuidatur in 7 partes ; interuallum primum pertinet ad in- 
scriptionem numerorum, secundum attribuitur © et n, 
tertium 8 et ^Q,, &c. Ymbram horarum singularium accipe 
ex qaadrante supra posito, et signato illam in lineis 
signorum, deinde pu[n]cta quseque proxima coniunge linea 
&c., ut docet te sequens figura. 

Besides the sketch mentioned above, there is another in 
Camb. Univ. MS Hh. vi. 8, a tracing of which Mr D. Hall 
kindly made for me. l!Teither of these, however, gives so 
full a representation of the instrument as a drawing in 
Ashmole MS 1522, which I have chosen for the woodcut. 
It is needful to observe that the cut gives at one view the 
whole surface of the body, which causes it to be at least 
double its proper width in proportion to the height, that it 
places the signs above the months, and otherwise deviates 
from the directions of our treatise. The knob at the top of 
the lid seems to be replaced by a ring ; if so, there would 
be no need of the central bore, since the instrument might 
be suspended by the ring ; the lid, however, would need to 
be fastened on in some way. The numerals of the MS are 
modernized in the cut to make them more intelligible. 

* Compare Florio's definition, pointed out by Mr Viles : Cilindbo, 
a Mnde of diall or sqiiare figure. 


I have to thank Mr Bradshaw for pointing out three of 
the MSS mentioned above, and the Lydgate passage, Mr D. 
Hall for referring me to Stoflerinus, for the tracing of the 
Cambridge drawing, (fee, Mr Gr. Parker for the tracing from 
which the woodcut was taken, and Mr Skeat for the notes 
printed with the translation and for other help. To all 
these gentlemen I am much obliged. 

Edmund Brock. 
Upper Holloioay, April, 1869. 


C. z=z Cotton MS Vitellius A i. 

E. = Egerton MS 843. 

MS in the various readings always means Arundel MS 292. 



[Arundel MS 292, leaf 106—109 &.] 

Tnuestigantibus chilindri composicionem, qui dicitur 
■^-orologium uiatorum. Sumenduni est lingnum maxime 
solidum, mim'me ^ porosum, equale, non nodosum ; arte ver- 
titoris circumuertendum quousque eius superficies rotunda 
fuerit et undique planissima, tarn in superiori parte cliilin- 
dri quam in inferiori, et medio equaUs^ grossiciei. Quod si 
sit tale, de facili per filum potest perpendi, base in inferiori^ 
eius parte decenter composita, alciore aliquantulum corporis 
superficie. Et infra alteram extremitatem, scilicet in capite 
chilindri, fiat unum^ spacium rotundum, parum profundum, 
superficie corporis exterius illesa remanente ; in quo spacio 
pars circuitus cooperculi interius concaui ad proporcionem 
dicti spacij constructa apte ingrediendo. Spacium, a centro 
[suo]^ per medium usque [ad]^ centrum basis perforatum, 
cooperiat cooperculo per medium^ noduli in summitate 
uertitoris arte constructi [perpendiculariter] ^ perforate, vt 
foramen cooperculi corespondeat foramini corporis ; fora- 
mine tamen corporis in parte superiori existente laciori, yt 
laqueus post construccionem cHlindri una cum stilo sine 
nothro ingredi foramen possit competenter. Per iam dicta 
babebitur cbilindri composicio ^ sufficiens. 

* E. non. 

^ MS medie equans, E. medio equalis, C. in medio equalis. 

^ MS superiore, E. C. inferiori. " E. C. omit. 

^ From E. G. « E. modum. ' From C. • 

* MS apposicio, E. C. compositio. 


IT Restat ut de figuracione eiusdem incipiamns. Eiguratur 
autem sic chilindrus : totum corpus in circnitu pedibus 
circini per 7 partes diuidas equales, scilicet* per 7 puncta, 
ita quod a duobus punctis protrabas duas lineas a sununitate 
cbilindri usque ad basim, et alteram lineam in medio earum 
a summitate usque deorsum. Et tunc erunt duo spacia 
equaliter diuisa. Et ut apcius fiat, iuxta primam lineam, 
scilicet dextram prope, protrabas lineam a summo usque 
deorsum illi equedistantem ; infra quas a summitate usque 
deorsum gradus ex transuerso paulatim augendo figurari de- 
bent, ut postea patebit. Et in spacio iam facte linee proximo 
numerus graduum per sextas ueP per quintas aptissime con- 
scribatur. Et p[ro]pe mediam lineam versus sinistram simi- 
liter alia linea equedistans a summo [usque] ^ in deorsum 
protrabatur ; infra quas puncta umbre uersC* equalia, ut 
postea patebit, ex transuerso inserantur. Et in spacio 
sinistro numerus punctorum umbre, per bina ad^ bina ad- 
dendo, apte coUocetur; per que cuiuslibet rei erecte^ super 
terram altitudo persuam umbram potest perpendi, ut postea 
patebit. Patebit etiam quid sit umbra uersa, et umbra ex- 
tensa in subsequentibus. Hijs itaque lineis sic "^ protractis, 
separabis in inferiori parte illius corporis tantum spacium 
ex transuerso ad minus, quantum est inter primam lineam 
dextram et quartam uersus sinistram, que fuit equedistans 
medie, protrabendo lineam in circuitu 4 linea predicta 
dextra usque ad sinistram [et] ^ aliam in inferiori parte 
corporis ru circuitu similiter super basim. Infra quas sit 
iam dictum spacium in quo menses et signa debent in- 
scribi; quod spacium per lineam mediam prioribus eque- 
distantem in circuitu apte diuidatur. Et inter illam mediam 
et suppremam lineam protrabatur una linea illis equedistans 
in circuitu. Ad buc inter illam mediam [lineam]^ et in- 
feriorem, que est super basim, protrabatur alia linea illis. 

' MS et, E. C. scilicet. ^ MS et, E. uel. « From E. 

* MS reuerse, E. C. uerse, ^ E. et, C. et per. 

^ MS recte, E. C. erecte. '^ MS supra, E. 0. sic. ^ From C. 


equedistans j et sic complentnr oinnes 5 linee transuersales 
in inferiore parte cLilindri facte in predicto spacio; in 
quo sunt modo 4 spacia per dictas lineas equaliter diuisa. 
Postea protrahantur 6^ liaee equedistantes a smnmo sex^ 
diuisioniim primo factarum^ usque deorsum ad lineam 
primam transuersalem ; et alias ^ sex lineas medias illis 
equedistantes consimili modo usque ad eandem lineam 
transuersalem protrahere non omittas ; ita quod in uniuerso 
tunc in vi diuisionibus sint duodecim linee a summo chi- 
lindri usque ad dictam"^ lineam transuersalem equaliter 
protracted. Et linea proxima prime linee dextre in priur 
cipio protracte, stans super primam lineam transuersalem, 
transeat equaHter deorsum per medium illius et etiam per 
medium linee transuersalis sibi proximo usque ad [mediam]^ 
lineam transuersalem, linea sibi^ proxima uersus dex- 
tram stante super primam lineam transuersalem; et sic 
-de ceteris lineis usque ad numerum^ punctorum, semper 
altera transeat usque ad mediam, et altera stet super 
lineam [primam]^ transuersalem. Et quelibet linea stans 
super [primam lineam] ^ transuersalem habeat lineam sibi 
equaliter^® corespondent em a media transuersali usque ad 

In spacijs autem per iam dictas lineas in inferiore parte 
cMlindri distinctis^^ omnes menses anni et singna illis 
corespondencia sic debent describi^^: in [superiori]^ spacio 
proximo sub prima linea transuersali, quod spacium est 
versus dextram post primam lineam factam in cbilindro, 
scribatur ultima medietas Decembris. Et ratio buius est, 
quia tunc incipiunt dies crescere. Et in proximo spacio sub 
illo, scilicet super lineam mediam [transuersalem]^, scribatur 
alia medietas eiusdem mensis, ordine retrogrado, quia in ilia 

* E. C. quinque. ^ E. prediotarum, C. prefactarum. 

^ MS has, E. alias. * MS dextram, E. C. dictam. 

" MS protractate, E. C. protracte. ^ From E. C. 

'' E. similiter, C. sibi. * B. imum, C. numerum. 

° From E. ^"^ E. C. linealiter. 

" MS distantis, E, 0. distinctis. ^^ MS disoribi, Cdescribi. 


iaedietate dies decrescere comprobantur. Hoe facto, in 
sequenti spacio post finem Decembris. lanuarius scribatur 
[processiue] ^j et sub eo J^ouember^ ordine retrdgrado ; con- 
seqnenter Eebruarins superius processiue, Obtbber inferiiis 
retrograde-; postea Marcius superius processiue, September 
inferius retrograde ; postea Apnlis superius processiue, 
Augustus inferius retrograde ; postea Mains ordine prd- 
cessiuo, lulius econtrario ; vltimo [spacio]^ lunij prima 
medietas processiue, quia dies adbuc crescunt, et alia 
medietas ordine retrogrado, quia tunc dies decrescunt. 
Aptissime Uteris subtilibus conscribantur. Et quia in 
medio singulorum mensiiun singna oriuntur, boc signum 
Gapricornus in quo dies crescunt, Decembri^ corespondens, 
Sub linea transuersali media in toto spacio usque ad proxi- 
mam^ lineam ordine processiuo conscribatur ; et sub eo Sa- 
gittarius ordine retrogrado inseratur ; postea Aquarius ordine 
processiuo, sub eo Scorpio^ econtrario; deinde Pisces ^^ supe- 
rius, Libra econtrario inferius ; postea Aries superius, Yirgo 
econtrario inferius ; quinto Taurus superius processiue, Leo 
inferius retrograde ; sexto et ultimo Gemini superius, et 
Gancer inferius retrograde imprimantur.^ Et notandum vni- 
uersaliter quod signa et m.enses, in quibus dies^ crescunt, 
scribuntur ^ processiue ; singna uero et menses in quibus 
dies decrescunt, retrograde. Et in hoc terminatur insertio 
mensium et singnorum artificialiter in cbiUndro. 

IT'Eestat ut pu[n]cta umbre uerse in loco sibi [in corpore 
chilindri]! deputato^^ aptissime inseramus. Et primo quid 
sit punctus, et que umbra uersa, et que extensa uideamus. 
Et est umbra extensa, secundum Arsachel in suis Ganonibus, 
umbra omnis rei erecte super faciem terre per lineam direc- 
tam. Punctus uero est duodecima pars status illius rei 

^ From E. ^ MS Nouembris, E. C. Kouember. 

^ MS Decembre, E. C. Decembri. ^ E. C. paruam. 

* E. C. Scorpius. « MS Piscis, E. C. Pisces. 

'' E. imprimatur, C. inprimatur. 

® MS signa in quibus dies et menses. 

^ MS scribentur, E. C. scribuntur. 

^' MS reputato, E. C. deputato. 



erect e ; et similiter punctus umbre est duodecima pars 
status illius umbre. Cum igitur interrogatus fueris quot 
pu[n]cti sint^ in umbra, vult intelligi quot^ duodecim[e] 
[partes] 3 vnius status [illius rei erecte]^ sint in ea^ Ymbra 
autem versa est umbra omnis rei que fit in directo super- 
ficiei teire in aliqua re, que fuerit erecta super faciem terre, 
super lineam directam. Status quoque est in ea ex dubde- 
cim punctis, quemadmodum est in extensa. Cum autem 
uolueris figurare puncta umbre verse, quod primo oportet 
facere, diuide spacium ad hoc deputatum secundum longi- 
tudinem per lineas paruas transuersales ab una linea ad 
aliam equedistantem, per tot spacia equalia, quot sunt 
puncta umbre uerse meridiane maxime diei illius regipnis, 
in qua^ uolueris cbilindrum componere. Et si cbilifidrus 
fuerit longus, diuide per tot spacia equalia quot possunt esse 
puncta umbre verse in regione [ad] * quam credis aliquando 
accedere, verbi gratia, ad Terram Sanctam. Et ad hoc sci- 
endum tabulam inspice, que docet altitudinem solis in in- 
gressu illius® signi quod dicitur Cancer ad omnes boras diei, 
scilicet quando sol est in maiori altitudine sua^ ut est in 
inicio Cancri ad sextam boram diei j 
et est tabula [Cancri] "^ bee. Tabula 
ista docet altitudinem soKs in in- 
gressu Cancri. IF Et constat per 
tabulam istam, quod altitudo solis 
bora sexta, sine [in] ^ meridie maxime 
diei regionis buius,^ est 61 gradus 
[et] 34 minutorum, boc est, et dimidij 
gradus et parum plus ; [cum 30 minuta faciunt dimidium 
gradum;]^ quibus gradibus et^^ dimidio respondent*^ 22 
puncta umbre verse et 7 minuta, quod est parum plus quam 
XX duo puncta ; et boc est manifestum per tabulam umbre, 


















* MS sunt, B. sint, C. sunt. ^ MS quod, E. C. quot. 

^ From C. '* From E. ^ B. quam. 

« E. C. istius. ' From B. C. ^ E. 0. istius. 

« From E. 0. '* MS uel,. E. C. et. 

" MS respondeat, E. C. respondent. 


qua ad presens non indigemus. Diuide ergo spacium ad 
pimcta depntatum ad minus per xxiij spacia equalia uel 
partes equales ; etiam, si cMlindrus fuerit aliquantulum 
longus, ut prius dixi, videlicet transuersio quinque digitorum 
uel huiusmodi, diuide a summo usque ad basim predictum 
spacium in viginti septem uel in 26 partes equales, et 
protralie tot lineas transuersales, que linee puncta dis- 
tinguant; ita quod ad lineam paruam^ transuersalem dis- 
tinguentem duo puncta protrahatur linea sibi continua 
equaliter versus sinistram, et in spacio superiori scribatur 
figura algorismalis denotans dualitatem. Et sic protrabatur 
linea distinguens 4 puncta, et in spacio superiori scribatur 
Humerus excrescens priorem in dualitate; et sic^ usque ad 
basim. Et in hoc terminatur diuisio punctorum cum nu- 
merorum subscripcionibus. 

Eestat [nunc] ^ ut de diuisione graduum discuciamus. Si 
"ergo uolueris artificialiter gradus diuidere in spacio sibi 
deputato, uide puncta et minuta que fuerunt* in bac tabula 
[in] 3 directo 5 graduum ex gradibus altitudinis [umbre]^ 
verse, et sume tantum de pu[n]ctis chilindri, et protrabas 
secundum hoc spacium punctorum lineam transuersalem in 
capite cbilindri ; et erunt inter capud cMlindri et dictam 
lineam 5 gradus, i[d est], illud spacium continebit 5 gradus. 
Post hec considera quot puncta et minuta fuerint^ in bac 
tabula in directo 10^ graduum altitudinis [umbre] ^ verse^ et 
sume tantum de punctis cbilindri a capite eius ut prius_, et 
duces lineam transuersalem ; et erunt inter illam lineam et 
priorem alij 5 gradus : et sic facies de omnibus gradibus, 
donee compleueris tot gradus, quot potest sol ascendere in 
maximo die in regione qua uolueris. Et constat quod in bac 
regione, [scilicet apud Oxoniam uel Londoniam, J^ ascendit 
[sol] ^ per 61 gradus^ et dimidium et 4 minuta, ut predictum 

* MS proximain, E. paruam, C. omits. ^ E. C. similiter. 

^ From E. * E. sunt, C. fuerint. 

' MS fuerunt, E. C. fuerint. ' MS 20, E. C. 10. 

' From 0. ' From E. 

^ MS and C. gradum, E. gradus. 



est; qTiibus respondent ^ in chilindro 
22 puncta et 7 minuta. Et post quam 
compleueris tot gradus, facias^ simi- 
liter ^ alios gradus, si plnra pnncta 
fuerint sub illis 22 punctis. Et est 
hec tabula quam debes inspicere. 
^ Post quam sic feceris, in inferi- 
ori* p[ar]te super basim fere scribatur 
in spacio numerorum graduum bee 
dictio graduSy ad denotandum quod 
numerus supra positus est numerus 
graduum ; & consimiliter sub numero 
punctorum scribatur bee diccio punc- 
ta, ad denotandum quod numerus 
superpositus est numerus punctorum. 
Eestant [iam]^ linee borarum pro- 
trabende sic : considera que sit al- 
t[it]udo solis ad omnes boras [diei],^ 
cum fuerit in inicio signorum in qui- 
bus dies crescunt in regione qua 
uolueris, quod'' scies per astrolabium,^ 
aut in partibus illis ^, [scilicet apud 
Oxoniam uel Londoniam,]^ per tabu- 
lam subsequentem ; et sume tantum 
de gradibus cbilindri, faciesque puncta 
super singula ^^ [inicia]^ singnorum 
in quibus dies crescunt, directe contra 
protrabas lineas obliquas transuersales 
et erunt linee borarum perfecte. 






5 ; 














27 : 
























































65 . 



' 66 




tot gradus, et deinde 
11 per omnia puncta; 

' MS respondeat, E. correspondent, C. respondent. 
^ MS facies, E. C. facias. ^ MS and C. super, E. similiter. 

Table 2. — E. has lost this table. C. reads : 4 | | 19, 10 | 7 | 
40, 22 I 30 I 62. 

* MS superiori, E. C. inferiori. ^ From C. 

« From E. ' MS et, E. C. quod. 

^ MS austrabium, E, C. astralabium. ^ E. C. isti». 

'** MS singulum, E. C. singula. 

". MS et numerales, E. C. transuersales. 












































































IT Et simul CTun hac inspice tabulam paruami preceden- 
tem, [videlicet de altitndine solis in principio Cancri].^ 

Hijs itaque sic^ peractis, fiat stilus sine lingua ex cupro 
uel argento fabricata, in laciori extremitate perforata, per 
cuius foramen abiliter pertransire possit quedam uirgula 
similiter 3 [cuprea uel]^ argentea_, gracilis et rotunda; cuius 
due extremitates ex transuerso in cMlindri cdoperculo in- 
terius, per subtilia foramina iuxta medietatem cdoperculi 
constructa, infigantur. Et ex altera parte cdoperculi ex 
opposito parum de plumbo subtiliter infundatur, quod qui- 
dem ponderet contra linguam a cdoperculo egredientem per 
exitum sue magnitudinis in circumferencia cddperculi pro- 
porcionaliter constructum. Qve lingua ortogonaliter, i[d 
est] J ad angulum rectum composita, extra cddperculum 
nuncquam sit pluris longitudinis quam duodecim punc- 
torum. Et in hoc terminatur cMlindri composicio. 

De arte operandi per ipsum aliquid uideamus. 

Cvm volu[er]is scire boras quacunque die^ [uolueris]^, 
verte stilum sine notrum super partem mensis in quo fueris, 
et umbra stili ostendet tibi boras pertransitas, et boc est, 
duodecim boras diei,''^ sine dies sit maior sine minor. 

Table 3. — E. has lost tjiis table. C. bas it witb tbe following 
differences : Capricornus 6 | 14 | 27, Pisces 6 | 26 | 40, Taurus 2 | 
21 I 0, 6 I 44 1 14. C. also includes the table of Cancer (see the 
first table), and adds other tables for the city of York and the 
border of Scotland. 

' MS proximam, E. C. paruam. ^ From 0. 

^ E. C. omit. ^ From E. C. 

* MS diei, E. C. die. « From E. C. '' E. C. omit. 


Et cnm uolueris scire altitudinem solis, uerte stilum 
super gradus, et umbra stili ostendet tibi gradus altitudinis 
solis, in quacunque bora uolueris.^ 

[Et si uolueris scire puncta umbre uerse, uerte stilum 
super 2 puncta cbilindri, et umbra ostendet tibi^ puncta 
umbre uerse, in quacumque bora uolueris.]^ 

Et si uolueris [scire] ^ puncta umbre extense in aliqua 
hora, diuide 144 per puncta que babueris, et numerus 
quociens ostendet tibi puncta umbre extense in eadem bora. 

Et si uis^ scire altitudinem cuiuslibet rei in piano erecte, 
scias que est proporcio punctorum umbre uerse ad stilum 
in aliqua bora, et eadem econtrario erit proporcio omnis 
rei erecte ad suam umbram; ut, si fuerit umbra equalis 
stilo, et omnis res erecta erit equalis sue umbre; veH si 
fuerit bee umbra medietas stili, erit econtrario quelibet res 
erecta medietas sue umbre ; et sic de alijs partibus intellige. 
Et sic per umbram scies altitudinem [cuiusque rei erecte].^ 
Explicit composicio cbilindri cum arte sua. 

* E. adds : — q, d. pro toto umbra in cbilindro comparatur rei erecte 
supra superficiem terre ; ideo si uolumus scire aliquid spacium siue 
latitudinem alicuius aque, ponatur lancea directe sursum in aera 
plana propter spacium indicandum, et supra undam aque propter 
latitudinem aque sciendtim, ita, s[cilicet], quod vmbra lancee trans- 
eat aquam. Tunc uidendum est que sit proportio lingue diuise 
in 12 partes ad umbram uersam in cMlindro, quia talis erit pro- 
portio umbre ad rem erectam. Ynde si lingua sit equalis umbre, 
tunc res erecta erit equalis sue umbre, uel si lingua contineat in 
duplo plura quam puncta f acit umbra uersa, tunc umbra rei erecte 
continebit duplum rei erecte; & similiter intelligendum est pro- 
portionaliter. Si lingua contineat umbre uerse tertiam partem uel 
quartam, tunc umbra rei erecte continebit longitudinem sue rei ter 
uel quater ; et hoc intendit in littera. 

2 E. supra, G. super. ^ E. sibi, C. tibi. * From E. 

^ From E. 0. * E. 0. uolueris. ' E. G. et. 



To those who investigate the construction of the chilindre, 
which is called the traveller's dial. A piece of wood must 
be taken, very solid, imporous, equal, and without knots. 
It must be turned by the art of the turner until its surface 
is round and very smooth on all sides, both in the upper 
and in the lower part of the chilindre, and of an equal thick- 
ness in the middle. If it be such, it can easily be balanced 
on a thread, the base at the lower part of it being fitly con- 
structed, a little thicker than the surface of the body. And 
in the other end, that is to say, in the head of the chilindre, 
let a round shallow space be made, the surface of the body 
outside remaining undamaged. In which space [let there 
be] a part of the rim of the inwardly concave lid, made to 
the size of the said space, going in fitly. Let him bore the 
space in its centre, right through to the centre of the base, 
and cover it with a lid bored perpendicularly through the 
middle of a knob at the top formed by the art of the turner ; 
so that the hole of the lid may correspond with the hole of 
the body, the hole of the body nevertheless being wider in 
the upper part, that the string, together with the style or 
indicator, may go freely into the hole after the chilindre is 
constructed. By what is aheady said^ the construction of 
the chilindre will be sufficiently understood. 

It remains for us to begin concerning the marking of it. 


IsTow the cliilindre is marked thus .• divide the whole bodyi 
in its circiunferehce with the feet of the compasses into 
seven equal parts, by seven points ; so that from two points 
you may dra% two lines from the top of the chilindre to the 
base, and another line in the middle, between them, from the 
top to the bottom ; and then there wiU be twQ spaces equally 
divided. And that it be done more fitly, beside the first 
line, that is to say, near the right hand, draw a line from 
top to bottom parallel to the former, between which (Hues) 
the degrees are to be marked crosswise, from the top to the 
bottom, increaBing gradually, as will appear afterwards. 
And in the space next to the line already made, let the 
number of degrees be very fitly written by sixths or fifths. 
And near the middle line, to the left, in like manner let 
another parallel line be drawn from the top to the bottom ; 
between which (lines) let the equal points of the inverted 
shadow be inserted crosswise, as afterwards will appear. 
And in the lefthand space, let the number of points of the 
shadow be fitly placed, adding them two by two. By these 
points the height of every upright object upon the earth may 
be calculated by its shadow, as afterwards will appear. It 
will also appear below what the inverted shadow and the ex- 
tended shadow are. Therefoxe, these lines beiag drawn thus, 
you shall separate in the lower part of the body, crosswise, 
as much space, at least, as there is between the first' right- 
hand line and the fourth to the left, which was parallel to 
the middle line, drawing a line round from the foresaid 
righthand line to the lefthand one, and another in like 
manner around the lower part of the body over the base ; be- 
tween which (lines) let the said space be in which the months 
and signs are to be inscribed. Let this space be fitly divided 
by an intermediate line equidistant to the former ones ; 

* The 'whole body' means the * whole circumference.' In the 
figure, the dial-lines only go half round the cylinder, or rather, the 
draughtsman supposes one to see all round it at once. The 
"breadth of the figured part of the cylinder is immaterial, hut the 
broader the better. 


and "between that intermediate line and tlie uppermost one, 
let a line be drawn round equidistant to them. Moreover, 
between that intermediate line and the lower one which is 
over the base, let another line be drawn equidistant to them ; 
and thus are completed all five transverse lines made in the 
lower part of the chilindre in the foresaid space, in which 
there are now four spaces equally divided by the said lines. 
Afterwards let six equidistant lines be drawn from the top 
of the six divisions first made, downward to the first trans- 
verse line; and do not omit to draw, in like manner, six other 
intermediate lines equidistant to them, down to the same 
transverse line, so that there be then altogether in the six 
divisions, twelve lines drawn equally from the top of the 
chilindre to the said transverse line. And let the line 
nearest to the first righthand hue drawn in the beginning, 
standing upon the first transverse line, pass equally, down- 
ward through it, and also through the transverse line next 
to it to the middle transverse line, the line nearest to it on 
the right, standing upon the first transverse line ; and so of 
the other lines up to the last of the points, always let one 
pass over to the middle line, and the other stand upon the 
first transverse line. And let every line standing upon the 
first transverse line have a line corresponding equally to it 
from the middle transverse line to the final one. 

'Now in the spaces marked off in the loVer part of the 
chilindre by the foresaid lines, all the months of the year, 
and the signs corresponding to them, must be written thus : 
in the upper space next under the first transverse line, which 
space is to the right, after the first line made in the chilindre, 
let the latter half of December be written. The reason of this 
is that the days then begin to increase. And in 'the next 
space under it, that is to say, over the middle transverse 
line, let the other half of the same month be written in re- 
trogressive order, because in that half, the days are proved 
to decrease. This being done, in the space following, after 
the end of December, let January be written progressively, 


and under it ISToveniber in retrogressive order ; next, in order, 
February above progressively, October below retrogress- 
ively; after that Marcb above progressively, September 
below retrogressively ; after tbat April above progressively, 
August below retrogressively ; after that May in pro- 
gressive order, July on the contrary ; in the last space, tbe 
first half of June progressively, because the days hitherto 
increase, and the other half in retrogressive order, because 
then the days decrease. Let them be written very fitly 
with thin letters. And because a. sign rises in the middle ^ 
of each month, let this sign, the Goat, in which the days 
increase, and which corresponds to December, be written 
under the middle transverse line, in the whole space to the 
next line, in progressive order, and under it let the Archer 
be inserted in retrogressive order ; afterwards the "Water- 
carrier in progressive order, under it the Scorpion on the 
contrary; then the Fishes above, the Balance on the con- 
trary below; afterwards the Eam above, the Virgin on the 
contrary below ; fifthly, the Bull above progressively, the 
Lion below retrogressively ; sixthly and lastly, let the Twins, 
be imprinted above, and the Crab below retrogressively. 
And it is to be noted universally that the signs and months 
in which the days increase are written progressively, but 
the signs and months in which the days decrease, retro- 
gressively. And with this ends the skilful insertion of 
the months and signs in the chilindre. 

It remains for us to insert the points of the inverted 
shadow very fitly in the place assigned to them in the 
body of the chilindre. And in the first place^ let us see 
what is a point, and what the inverted shadow, and what 
the extended one. The extended shadow, according to 
Arsachel in his Carionss, is the shadow of every upright 
object (cast) in a straight line on the surface of the earth. 

* The sign does not rise exactly in the middle of the month, but 
only near it. In Chaucer's time, Aries rose on the trcelftli of 
March, not the fifteenth, and similarly for other signs. Hence 
arises an inaccuracy in the use of the cylinder. 


But a point is the twelfth part of the lellgth^of that upright 
object, and in like manner, a point of a shadow is the twelfth 
part of the lengthof [the object casting] that shadow. There- 
fore when you are asked how many points, there are in the 
shadow, it must be understood to mean, how many twelfth 
parts of one length of that upright object are in it. The in- 
verted shadow is the shadow of every object^ thrown straight 
down to the surface of the earth, upon some object which is 
upright upon the surface of the earth, upon the direct line.^ 
The length in it also is of twelve points, as it is in the ex- 
tended shadow. Now, when you wish to mark the points of 
the inverted shadow, which you must do first,, divide the 
space assigned to them in its length by small transverse lines^ 
from one line to another parallel one, into as many equal 
spaces as there are points of the inverted shadow at midday, 
on the longest day of that region for which you wish to con- 
struct the chilindre. And if the chilindre is long, dividei' 
it into as many equal spaces, as there can be points, of the 
inverted shadow in the region to which you think to go 
sometime, say, to the Holy Land.^ And to know this, look 
at the table which teaches the altitude of the sun at the 
entering of the sign which is called the Crab, at all hours of 
the day, that is to say, when the sun is at his greatest altitude, 
as he is at the beginning of the Crab at the sixth hour, of the 
day j and this is the table of the Crab. (Seep, 39.) And it; 

^ The umhra recta is the shadow cast on the ground by an up- 
right object, when the altitude of the sun is greater than 45**. The 
umhra extensa is the same shadow, when the altitude of the sun is 
less than ^h° ; and, consequently, the shadow is lengthened beyond 
the length of the object. The imibra versa is the shadow cast (in 
the latter case, i. e. when the sun is low) by a horizontal object 
projecting from a vertical wall. This is, of Course, cast downwards^ 
or towards the earth. In using the cylinder, it should be turned 
till the shadow points straight downwards, which it will do when 
the style or gnomon points accurately to an azimuthal circle pass- 
ing through the sun's centre. 

^ This is very unnecessary. The cylinder is only useful for a 
fixed latitude. If carried to the Holy Land, the hour-lines would' 
have to be drawn all over again, and the cylinder must be of great 
length, or else the gnomon very short. 


is, evident by this table, that tbe altitude ^ of tbe sim at; tk^ 
six-th. hour, or at midday on the longest, day ofi this region^, 
is. 61 degrees and 34 minutes, that is, and a half degree .art(l 
a little more, since 30 minutes make a half degree j to^wjiich. 
(61) degrees and a half correspond 22 points, of the inverted 
shadow, and seven minutes,, which is a little more than 22- 
points ; and tl^is is; manifest by the table of the shadp\Vj; 
which we do not, need at present. Therefore^ divide, tj^^ 
space, assigned to, the points into at least; 23 eguaL spaces^ ob 
parts, and if the c-hilindre be somewhat long, a§, I said be- 
fore, namesly, the breadth of fiye. fi:p^ger^ or thereabouts,, 
divide the foresaid space fromthe^top to the base into 27. 
or 26 equal parts, and, draw as many transverse lines to 
distinguish the points ; &o that at the little transv-erse lin^ 
distinguishing two points, a line may be drawn continuous^ 
with itj equally, towards the left ; and in the upper space le^ 
the: arithmetical figure denoting two be written.. And so.let drawn distinguishing four points^,, and in the uppe? 
space let the number be written, increasing the forniej? 
number by^ two,, and in like manner down, to the base^ 
And with this ends the division of the: points; with the^: 
writing of the numbers.. 

It now rematus for us to discuss the division.; of degrees* 
Ifj then, you wish to divide skilfully the de^ees in: the 
space assigned to them^ see the points . and minutes; wMch 
are in this table on a level with five degrees - of the- de« 
grees of the altitude of the inverted shadow, and take. as 
many points ofthe chilindre^ and according. to this space of 
the points, draw a transverse line in thehead of the chilindre; 
and there will be between the head of; the chilindre and the 
said line &ve degrees, that is, that space. wiE contain five 
degrees. Afterwards, consider how many points and 
micLutes are in this table on a level with 10 degrees of alti- 
tude of the inverted shadow, and take so many points of 
the chilindre from the head of it, as: before^ andi draw a 
transverse line ; and there will be between that line^ and 


the former other five degrees ; and do so with all degrees, 
until you have completed as many degrees as the sun can 
ascend on the longest day in the region you wish. And it 
is certain that in this region, that is to say, at Oxford or 
London, the sun ascends 61 degrees and a half, and four 
minutes, as is aforesaid, to which correspond 22 points and 
seven minutes in the chilindre. And after you have com- 
pleted so many degrees, make other degrees in like manner, 
if there are more points under those 22 points. And this is 
the table which you are to look at. (Seep. 41.) After you 
have done so, let the word gradm [degrees) be written in the 
lower part, almost upon the base, in the space of the numbers 
of degrees, to denote that the number placed above is the 
number of degrees ; and in like manner under the number 
of pointS; let the word pun eta [points) be written, to denote 
that the number placed over is the number of points. 

ISTow the hour-lines remain to be drawn thus : consider 
what is the altitude of the sun at all hours of the day in 
the region you wish, when he is in the beginning of the 
signs in which the days increase, which you shall know by 
the astrolabe, or in these parts, that is to say, at Oxford or 
London, by the following table [See p. 42) ; and take so 
many degrees of the chilindre, and make a point over the 
beginning of each sign in which the days increase, directly 
opposite that number of degrees ; and then draw oblique 
transverse lines through all the points, and the hour-lines 
will be completed. And at the same time with this (table), 
look at the little table preceding, namely, of the altitude 
of the sun in the beginning of the Crab. 

These things being finished, let a style or tongue be 
made of copper or silver, bored in the wider end, through 
the hole of which a pin, likewise of copper or silver, slender 
and round, may be able to pass easily. Let the two ends 
of it be fixed crosswise in the lid of the chilindre inside, 
by small holes made near the middle of the lid. And 
on the other side of the lid, opposite, let a little lead be 


nicely melted in to weigK against the tongue, wHch projects 
from the lid by an outlet of its own size in the circumfer- 
ence of the lid proportionally constructed. The tongue, 
made rectangularly, that is, at a right angle, may never be 
of greater length outside the Hd than 12 points. And with 
this ends the construction of the chiHndre. 

Let us see somewhat on the art of operating with the 

When you wish to know the hours on any day you wish, 
turn the style or indicator over the part of the month in 
which you are, and the shadow of the style wiU show you 
the hours passed, that is, the twelve hours of the day 
whether the day be longer or shorter.^ 

And when you wish to know the altitude of the sun, 
turn the style over the degrees, and the shadow of the 
style will show you the degrees of the sun's altitude, at 
whatever hour you wish. 

And if you wish to know the points of the inverted 
shadow, turn the style over the points of the chilindre, 
and the shadow will show you the points of the inverted 
shadow, at whatever hour you wish. 

And if you wish to know the points of the extended 
shadow at any hour, divide 144 by the points which you 
have, and the quotient will show you the points of the 
extended shadow at the same hour.^ 

And if you wish to know the height of any upright 

* This is important. It proves that the hours used are those 
called the * unequal hours.' If the time from sunrise to sunset on 
any given day be divided into twelve equal parts, each of these is 
called an unequal hour. The title implies that they are of different 
lengths on different days. The first of these hours is prime, which 
is commonly wrongly explained as meaning 6 A.M. It is 6 A.M. at 
the equinoxes ; but begins at a quarter to 4 at Midsummer, and 10 
minutes past 8 at Christmas, nearly. 

^ The reason is simple. It will appear from a figure, that the 
following proportion holds, by similar triangles. As the iimlra 
versa on the cylinder : stylus : : object : umbra extensa. Hence, 
by the rule of three, multiply 12 (the points in the stylus) by 1 2 
(the points in the object), and divide by the imibra versa. In other 
words, * divide 144 by the points which you have.' The last part of 
this 4th example is merely the same thing repeated in other words. 


object on a plane, know iv^Bat the proportion of the points 
of the inverted shadow to the style is at any honr, and 
the same inversely ivtli be the proportion of every npright 
object to its shadow, as : if the shadow be equal to the 
style, every npright object wiU also be equal to its shadow ; 
or if the shadow be half of the style, inversely, every up- 
right object will be half of its shadow ; and so understand 
of other parts. And thus you shall know the height of 
every upright object by the shadow. 

Exphcit the construction of the chilindTe with its 'art. 


These ar^ all more or less inaccurate. 

The marking-off of the degrees, so clumsily done hy help of the 
table of points (p. 41), is much more easily and accurately effected 
by help of a scale of tangents, which appears (marked T) on a 
common footrule. 

The * table of the Crab ' (p. 39) is a table of the altitude of the sun 
at the end of each unequal hour of the day. From it we can deter- 
mine the latitude of the place for which the cylinder is constructed. 
Thus, roughly taking the obliquity of the ecliptic at 23| degrees, 
add 90, and subtract 61° 34 man. The result is 51** 56 "min., which 
was probably intended to represent Oxford. 

In the same way, the table at p. 42 -represents the altitude of the 
siin at the end of each unequal hour on the days when the various 
signs are entered. 

By marking off these altitudes on the cylinder, the curved hour- 
lines are then easily formed by connecting the poiats. 

N.B. The cylinder is fairly accurate during the summer months, 
but uselessly inaccurate in winter. 


lb «0tbs mx^ Works. 


III. Practica Chilindri : or, The Working of the Cylinder, by 
John Hoveden. Edited, with a Translation, by Ed^iund 

IV. The use of final -e in Early English, and especially in Chaucer's 

Canterbury Tales. By Professor Joseph Payne. 

V. Elizabeth Barrett Browning on Chaucer. From her 

" English Poets," ed. 1863. 

VI. Specimen of a critical edition of Chaucer's Compleynte to Pite:, 

with the Genealogy of its Manuscripts,^ By Prof. Bernhard 

LO]^DOX : 



[Reprinted 1896.] 

^;etaitjl> ^txus, 9. 







(^irmimir '^xoth, 



By the kindness of Mr Frederick Korgate, we are now 
able to lay before the reader another short treatise on the 
cylinder. How it was found, and what it contains, may 
be learnt from the following notice, which we reprint from 
Notes and Queries, 4th Series, TIT, June 12, 1869. 


*' We have to thank the Chaucer Society for the publica- 
tion of a very early tract on the * Chilindre,' removing to 
a great extent the difficulty about the meaning of this 
word, which for ages has puzzled all the commentators on 
the Ganterhury Tales. This little tract is- devoted almost 
exclusively to information as to the construction of the in- 
strument in question, with only a few brief rules at the 
end for its use. I have recently been so fortunate as to 
discover another MS. which may be a useful and interest- 
ing supplement to that which Mr Brock has edited for the 
above-named society ; and before describing its contents, 
let me mention the strange way in which T found it. 
Looking through the Tndex of Authors at the end of Ays- 
cough's Catalogue of the Bloane MSS. (not thinking at the 
time of Chaucer or anything relating to him), my attention 
was arrested by the name * Chilander,' and on turning . to 
the page referred to, I found Chilander noted as the author 
of a work entitled Practica Astrologorum, Sfe, Hereupon 
I determined on taking the first opportunity of examining 
the MS. itself, and having done so, to my surprise T found, 
instead of Practica Astrologorum, with Chilander for its 
author, a tract entitled Practica Chillndri secundum magis- 
trum Johannem Astrologum ! The MS. is of the beginning 
of the fourteenth century, neatly written (on vellum), and 
differs from that which the Chaucer Society has brought to 



liglit, inasmuch as it is devoted exclusively to instructions 
for using the instrument. 

" The whole is comprised in six pages, closely written, 
and in a small but neat hand. The titles of the several 
chapters are as follows ^ : — 

1. Primum capitulum est de horis die! artificialis 

2. De gradu soHs inueniendo. 

3. De altitudine solis et lune, et vtrum fuerit ante 
meridiem uel post. 

4. De linea meridiei inuenienda et oriente et occidente. 

5. Quid sit vmbra versa, quid extensa. 

Q. I)q punctis vmhre verse et extense similiter. 

7. De altitudine rerun! per vmbram uersam. 

8. De declinacione solis omni die, et gradu eius per de- 
clinacionem inueniendo, et altitudine eius omni hora anni. 

9. De latitudine omnis regionis inuenienda. 

10. De inuenienda quantitate circuitus tocius orbis et 
spissitudine eius. 

" The colophon is as follows ; — 

' Explicit ppactica chiUndri Magistri 
lohannis de Houeden astrologi.' 

Fred. ITorgate. 

^* Henrietta Street^ Covent Garden.'"' 

This tract, with the former, will give a tolerably clear 
idea of the nature and uses of the instrument ; but there is 
much more on the subject which we have no space to 
print, and we must therefore be content with giving the 
reader references, which will enable those who care to read 
more about the cylinder, to do so. 

1. Compositio horologiorum, in piano, muro, truncis, 
anulo, con[uexo], concauo, cylindro & uarijs quadrantibus, 
cum signorum zodiaci & diuersarum horarum inscriptioni- 
bus : autore Sebast. Munstero. Basileae, 1531. ^ Composi- 
tio cylindri, hoc est^ trunci coliimnaris. Caput xxxix. 

2. Horologiographia, post priorem seditionem per Se- 
bast. Munsterum recognita, & plurimum aucta atqz^e 
locupletata, adiectis multis nouis descriptionibus & figuris, 
in piano, concauo, conuexo, erecta superficie &c. Basilese. 
1533. Compositio cylindri, hoc est, trunci columnaris. 
Caput XLiii. 

* The table is printed according to the MS, from which ^Ir 
Norgate's copy deviates in one or two eases. 


3. Ser ^orologten / Ober ©onnen ^|>ven / ^imfttic^e 
93ef^rei6utt3 / tt>ic btefefttgett md^ man^cxk^ a^xt an bfe 
5SWaurett / SQBenbte / Sbne / jte fe^en Stgenbe / Sluffgertd^tet / 
©d^reg / aud^ m^ 9tottbe / Sluggel^ofte ^nb fonft atUx 
^anbt 3ttftrumettt / Slufjureiffeit / 2)ur^ ©ebafltanum 
gSi'mfter. Safe!, 1579. SQSte man emett ^tinber Qixm^ 
Keren t)nb surtcpten fott. 2)a^ rrrii);. e^a^ttet. 

4. Dialogo della descrittione teorica et pratica de gli 
horologi solari. Di Gio : Batt. Vimercato Milanese. In 
Ferrara, per Valente Panizza Mantouano Stampator Ducale. 
1565. In qual modo per pratica operatione si possono 
fahricare i Gilindri, Gapitolo xi. 

5. Gnomonice Andreae Schoneri Noribergensis, lioc est : 
de descriptionibus horologiormn sciotericorum omnis generis, 
proiectionibns circulorum Sphsericorum ad superficies, cum 
planas, turn conuexas concauasqwe, Sphsericas, Cylindricas, 
ac Conicas : Item delineationibus quadrantum, annulorum, 
&c. Libri tres. Noribergse, 1562. The second book treats 
of spherical, cylindrical, and conical dials. 

6. lo. Baptistae Benedicti Patritij Yeneti Philosophi 
de Gnomonum umbrarumqwe solarium usu liber. Augustse 
Taurinorum. 1574. De examinatione peiisiliuin liorologio- 
rum,' Sf de noito liorologio circulari. Cap, lxxviii. 

7. Horarii Cylindrini Canones, 1515. Eeprinted in 
Opera Mathematica loannis Schoneri, fol. ]N"orinberg8e, 
1551. This, like Hoveden's treatise, consists of rules for 
using the cylinder. 

8. Histoire de T Astronomic du Moyen Age par M. 
Delambre, Paris. 1819, 4to. The third book, entitled 
G7wmo7iique, gives an account of tlie cylindrical dial 
{cadran cylindrique) of the Arabians as treated, of by 
Aboul-Hhasan (pp. 517 — 520), and of Sebastian Miinster's 
(pp. 597, 598). 

There is a large cut of the cylinder on page 166 of 
Miinster's Compositio Horologiorum, page 269 of his Horo- 
logiograpJiia, and page 125 of Der Horologien Beschreihung ; 
a smaller one on the title-page and page 131 of Horologio- 
graphia. In Yimercato's treatise, page 165, is a cut show- 
ing the separate parts of the cylinder. 

In Cotton MS. ISTero C ix, leaves 195—226, we find eight 
Latin poems by John Hoveden, cliaplain of Queen Eleanor, 
mother of King Edward. There can be little doubt that 
this writer is the same as the author of the present treatise. 
We here give the beginnings and endings of these poems. 


I. Incipit meditado lohaniiis de houedene, clerici regine 
anglie, mat/is regis Ed wardi/ de natiuitate, passione, et resur- 
reccione dommi saluatoris edita, nt legentis affeccio in 
chrkti amore profici[a]t et celeries accendatur / hoc opus 
sic incipzt: Aue verbu??^ ens in princi^eo. & sic iinit'^n & 
uolu^t editor quod liber inQditatioms illiws philomena 

Begins : Ave uerbii7?z ens in principio, 
Caro factum pudoris gremio ; 
Fac qwod fragre^ i^resens laudacib. 
Ends : Melos tibi sit et laudacio, 
Salus, lion or,, et iubilacio, 
Letws amor lotus in lilio; 
Qui es Yerhmk ens in principio. 
Explicit libellus rigtniichus* qui pbilomena uocatwr, que 
meditacio est de natiuitate, passione, et resurrect/owe, ad 
honorem dommi nosfri iesu clirisH saluatoris edita, a lohanne 
de houedene, clerico Alianore regine anglie, majiris edwardi 
regis anghe. 

II. Incipiunt .xv. gaudia Virginia gloriose, edita a 
Magistro Ioha???ze houedene Clerico. 

Begins : Yirgo vincens ve?'nancia ^ 

Carnis pudore lilia. 
Ends : Et nocte??^ banc excucien^, 

Ducas ad portu?7i paMe. Amen. 
Explicimzt .15. gaudia beate virg?*/zis, edita ritmice^ ex 
dictamine lohanni^ de Houedene. 

III. Hie scribitwr meditacio Iohcm?^is de Houedene, 
edita ad honorem dommi saluatoris, et ut legentes earn pro- 
ficiant in amore diuino : et vocat?^?^ hec meditacio cantica 
.50. qz^<9d in .50. canticis co7iiinetm\ 

The first canticle begins : 

In laude muiQ si^irltiic omnis exultet, 
Et leta me?2s dommi laude sustoUat. 

The last one ends ; 

Et ut nouella cantica cumulentwr, 

In laude nimc sipirituc omnis exultet. Amen. 

Explicit meditacio dicta ca?^tica 50*^, edita a Ioha?zne 
de Houedene ad honore??^ dommi saluatoris. 

lY. In honore dommi saluatoris incipzt meditaczo, edita 
a lohawne de houedene, clerico Alianore regine anglie, matr/^ 
regis Edwardi / facie?^s mencionem de saluatoris redolentis- 
sima passione ; et amoris cliristi suauem inducit aifectu??^^ 
Hec meditac^o uocatwr cythara eo q^^od Yerhis amoriferis, 

» So in Ma 2 MS. ricunce. 


quasi qnihusdsim cordis miisice,ad delectacione??zspzr/Yualein 
lege?2tes inuitat. 

Begins : Jesii vena diilcedinis, 
Proles pudica numinis, 
Yerbn77^ ens in principio, 
'FTuctus intacte virginis. 
Ends : Yerhnm ens in principio, 
Et des ut -post lias semitas 
]^os foueat et felicitas 
In celebri coUegio. Amen. 
Explicit laus de domino saluatore uel meditacio que 
cythara jio7ninsitur, a Johanue de Houedene, edita ut legent?^ 
affectus in amore diuino proficiat et celerius accendat?^r. 

Y. Incipru??,t 50*? salutaczones heate Yirginisy qxxibus 
inseritwr memoria domimce passionis, edita a lohanne de 
houedene ad honorem virginis matris, & laudem domini 

Begins : Ave stella maris, 
Yirgo singularis, 
Yernans lilio. 
Ends : Eer micM remedia, 

Yt in luce qua lust?'aris 
MicH dones gaudia. Aiaen. 
Expliciunt 50*?^ salutaciones . beate marie, edite a 
lohawne de Houedene. 

YI. Incipit laus de beata virgine,, que uiola uocatur,, 
edita a lohanne de Houedene. 
Begins : Maria stella maris, 

Eax su?>2mi luminaris, 

Kegina singularis. 
Ends : Penas mittigatura, 

Assis in die dura, 

Maria virgo pura. 
Explicit uiola beate virginis, a lohawne de Houedene 

YII. Incipit lira extoUens virginem gloriosam. 
Begins : qui fonteni gracie 

Captiuis regeneras, 

Celos endelichie.^ 
Ends : Qiios expiat sic puniat, 

Yt vices qaas variat, 

Alternis sic uniat, ne lira deliret. 
Explicit lira M.agistri Ioha?znis houedene. 

'■ So in MS, 


VIII. Canticiiwi amoris quocl composuit lohannes de 

Begins : Princeps pacis, proles puerpere, 

Hijs te precor labris iUabere, 

Yt sincere possim disserere 

Laudem tuam, et letus legere. 
End lost from : . 

Eius claui punctura perea???, 

Clu?^ superstes magis intereani. 

There is a copy of tlie first of these poems in the Lam- 
beth MS. 410, and another in Harleian MS. 985 with the 
heading : Incipit tractat?/s metricns E". de hondene, de pro- 
cessu christi & redempc^onis nostre, qui aliter dicitur 
philomena. At the end, are merely these words : Explicit 
liber q?d uocate^r philomena. It appears from Nasmith's 
Catalogue that there is a French version of the poem in 
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS, 471, intitled, Li 
rossignol, ou la pensee lohan de Hovedene, clerc la roine 
d'Engleterre, mere le roi Edward de la neissance et de la 
mort et du relievement et de I'ascension lesu Crist et de 
I'assumpcion notre dame. 

It is perhaps worthy of mention that Hoveden's Philo- 
7nena has long been confounded by the catalogue- writers 
with a wholly different composition, by another writer, and 

beginning : 

Philomena p?'euia temporis ameni. 
Que recessum nuncians imbris atgw6 ceni, 
Dum demulces animos tuo ca?itu leni, 
Auis predulcissima, ad me queso veni. 
End : Quicquid tamen alij dicant, iratet care, 
Istam novam martirem libens imitare ; 
Cumque talis fueris, deum deprecare 
Vt nos cantus martiris faciat cantare. Amen. 

Copies of this poem are contained in Cotton MS. Cleo- 
patra A xii., Harleian MS. 3766, and Koyal MS. 8 G vi., 
from the first of which the above lines are taken. A late 
hand has written the following mistaken heading over it 
in the Cotton MS. : philomela Canticum per loannem de 
Houedene Capellanum Alienoree- Eeginse matris Ed. primi. 


The Laud MS. 368 contains both these poems j ihe latter 
has the following heading: Incipit ineditaczo fi-atns 
lohannis de pecchani, qwonda???. cantuarze avchiei^iscojn, 
de ordine fra^rum mhiorum, que -vocatur philomena. The 
real author, however, appears to be Giovanni Fidanza, 
better known as Cardinal Bonaventura. The whole poem, 
with some additional lines at the end, is printed in his 
works, Mayence, 1609, vol. 6, p. 424, and Venice, 1751-56, 
vol. 13, p. 338. The English poem of The Nyghtyngale 
in Cotton MS. Caligula A ii., leaves 59-64, has no con- 
nection with Hoveden's Philomena, but is-^an imitation of 
Bonaventura's poem. 

According to Bale's account,^ which is followed by Pits^ 
and Tanner,^ John Hoveden was a native of London, doc- 
tor of divinity, and chaplain of Queen Eleanor, but after- 
wards parish priest at Hoveden, where he died in the year 
1275. Besides the poems already mentioned, Bale, Pits, 
and Tanner ascribe to him the work called Speculum 
LaicoTum ;^ but this could not have "been written till long 
after Hoveden's death, since it contains mention of H^nry 
the lYth's reign.'"' 

^ Bale, V. 79. ^ Pitseus, p. 356. ^ Tanner, under Hovedenus 

^ See Royal MS. 7 C xv and Oxford Univ. MSS. 29 and 36. 

^ In chapter 36. 



[Sloane MS 1Q20, leaf 2,] 


1. 'Primmn capzMz^m e^^ de horis diei artiiicial/6' 

2. De gradu solis inue?^ielldo. 

3. De altitudi?ze solis et lune, et vtru??i i^x.erit di.i\te 
nieridie??2 uel posif. 

4. De linea m^ridiei i?^ue?^ienda et oriente et, occL- 

5. (6.) 2 Qi^id sit vmbra versa, (5) qwid extensa. 

6. (7.) De pu^ictis vnibre verse, et extense si??^^'liten 

7. (8.) De altiife^^Zme xeium iper vmbram uersam. 

8. (9.) De declinacione soKs 077ini die, et gradu eius^^er 
declmacioiiein iTzne/dendo, (10) et altitudiiie eius omni hora 

9. (11.) De latitudiTze omnis regionis iwuemenda. 

10. (12.) De i?zue[n]ienda quaxditate, circiiitws tociws 
orbis et spissitudi^e eius. 


1. /^vm volueris scire boras diei, verte stilnwi superi- 

V^ orem super mensem aut signu??^ in quo fueris, et 

super parte?n que prete?'iit de ipso ; cumqt^e hoc feceris, 

* Kearlj' obliterated. 

^ The numbers in parentheses correspond to those whieli head 
the sections. 




I. The first chapter is on finding tlie hours of tlie 
artificial day. 

.2. On finding the sun's degree. 

3. On the altitude of the sun and of the moon; and 
whether it is before midday or after. 

4. On finding the meridian line, and the east and the 

6. What umbra versa is, (5) and what umbra extensa, 

7. On the points of the umbra versa, and likewise of 
i\iB umbra extensa. 

8. On (finding) the height of objects by the umbi^d 

9. On (finding) the sun's declination on any day, and 
on finding his degree by the declination ; Q.6) and on 
(finding) his altitude at any hour of the year. 

I I. On finding the latitude of any region. 

12. On finding the extent of the circumference of the 
whole world, and its thickness. 


When you wish to know the hours of the day, turn the 
upper style ^ over the month or sign in which you are, and 
over the part of it which is gone by ; and when you ha^e 

^ Only one style is mentioned in the former treatise. 


vertes etiain mieriomm stilnm in oipipositmn stili supeiioTis, 
et erit insivmaentmii disipositxim ad horas suiuBndas. 
C\im.q2ie volueris lioras sumere, suspends diilmdrum pe?* 
filum sunm ad solewi, moue^zdo ipsum cliilindm??i hue et 
illue donee Ymhra supmoris stili super cliili?idru??z eqz^idis- 
tsLTiter longitudmi eius ceeiderit ; et ad qiiamcumque horam 
peruene?it Ymhra stili, ip.m est hora diei pertransita. 
Quod si ceeiderit finis vmbre inter duas horas, tunc ap- 
parebit etiam pars liore in qua fueris, secundum quod plus 
uel min^^s oeeupauerit ymhra de ipso spaez'o quod est inter 
duas lineas hoTSLVum. Est enim hora spaeiu??i [eo]ntentu??^ 
i?iter duas lineas horar^^9?^ ; ip.5e axiiem linee sunt lines 


2, /^vni volueris scire in -quo signo fuerit sol, et in 
- V^ quo to gradu eius, equabis solem ad meridiem 
diei in qiio vdlue/is hoc scire, sic?^^ in lecc^'onibz^s tabwlarwm 
docettir, et addes ei motum 8^® spere, et ha&ebis gradum 
sol^5 quesitu??2. Quod si volueris hoc ip5?^m leui?^^ scire, 
intra cu7)i die me/zsis in quo fue^is in aliq^^am 4 tahulsLiuvt, 
secunduTQ. quod fue?it oimus bissextilis uel distans ab eo ; 
que quidem tabwle i?«titulantt^?* sic : — Tabz/le solis ad i?iue- 
?2iendum ; locum eius in orbe decliui fixo. Et in directo 
diei cu??z quo intras statim inuenies graduin soils equatmn, 
et hoc est quod voluisti. Quod si nee has nee illas tab?das 

' That is, straight down the cylinder. 

^ The following extract from Delambre's Astronomie du Moyen 
Age^ Paris, 1819, pp. 73, 74, may serve to explain the motion of the 
eighth sphere : — 

" TMbitli hen Chorath, — Son malheureiix systeme de la trepi- 
dation infecta les tables astronomiques jusqu'a Tycho, qui, le 
premier, sut les en purger. Ce long succes n'a point empeche que 
son livre ne soit reste inedit ; mais j'en ai trouve un exemplaire 
latin manuscrit, a la Bibliotheque du Roi, n° 7195. Ce traite a 
pour titre Thebith hen Chorath de motu ociatce Spheral 

" II imagine une ecliptique fixe, qui coupe I'equateur fixe dans 
les deux points equinoxiaux, sous un angle de 23° 33', et une eclip- 
tique mobile, attachee par deux points diametralement opposes ^ 
deux petits cercles, qui ont pour centres les deux points equinoxiaux 

ON THE sun's DEGREE. 67 

done this, turn also the lower style into the place opposite 
the upper style, and the instrument will be set in order for 
taking the hours. And when you wish to take the hours, 
suspend the cylinder by its string against the sun, moving 
it to and fro, until the shadow of the upper style falls on 
the cylinder parallel to its length,^ and whatever hour the 
shadow of the style reaches, the same is the (last) past 
hour of ''the day. But if the end of the shadow falls be- 
tween two hours, then will appear also the part of the hour 
in which you are, according as the shadow occupies more 
or less of that space which is between the two hour-lines. 
For the space contained betw^een two hour-lines is an hour ; 
but the lines themselves are the ends of the hours. 

2. ON THE sun's degree. 

When you wish to know in what sign the sun is, and 
in what degree thereof, you must adjust (?) the sun to the 
noon of the day on which you wash to know this, as it is 
taught in the readings of the tables, and add to it the 
motion of the eighth sphere,^ and you will have the sun's 
degree which you have sought. But if you wish to know 
the same more easily, enter with the day of the month in 
w^hicli you are into one of the four tables according as it is 
leap-year or distant from it. These tables are thjis en- 
titled : — Tables of the sun for finding his place in the fixed 
ecliptic, and in a line with the day with which you enter 

de I'ecliptique fixe, et dont le rayon est de 4:" 18' 43^''. Ces points 
de I'ecliptique tournent sur la circonference des deux petits cercles 
opposes ; I'ecliptique mobile s'eleve done et s'abaisse alternative- 
ment sur I'ecliptique fixe ; les points equinoxiaux avancent ou 
retrogradent d'une quantite qui peut aller a 10** 45\ Ce mouve- 
ment est commun a tons les astres ; ce mouvement est celui de la 
huitieme sphere, et il s'appelle mouvement d'acces ou de reces. Le 
lieu de la plus grande declinaison du Soleil change done continuel- 
lement, puisqu'il est toujours a 90° de I'une et I'autre intersections 
de Tecliptique mobile avec I'equateur fixe. La plus grande decli- 
naison est done tantot dans les Gemeaux et tantot dans le Cancer." 
For Thebit's treatise see Harleian MS 13, leaf 117. Incipi^ 
thebit de motu octmie sp^?'e. Or Harleian MS 3647, leaf 88, col. 2, 
incipit lib^;* tebith be^icorat de motu oetave spere. 


hahvLeris, et volueris Deaf2,bk] aKter querere gradium solis 
[a]ut fere, scito qwod seGuii^um compotistas xv. \a\endas 
Q/aiusVibet me^isis ingreditwr sol nouum signum, sicut i^atet 
in kalendario. Considera ergo quot dies t^'cmsierint de 
meTzse in quo fueris, et adde super eos qumdecim dies, et 
se?'ua eos. Computabis ergo sib i/zicio signi^ in quo fue?'it 
sol, totidem gradus, et ubi ^mtus fue/it nu^r^erMS, ip^e e^^ 
g7'adus solis quern queris. Q?iod si numerws tuus excesserit 
XXX., tot gradus qwot exeedit xxx, perambulauit sol de 
signo seqwente, si Deus voluefit. 


3. /^\ vod si altitudi??eni solis sen lune plactierit i?*uesti- 
V>t gare, verte stilum su^eiioie^n super gradus cbil- 
indri, et stilum i?2feriorem in oppositu??i eiw5 se?}iper; et 
hoc sit tibi generale, ut ue^'sus quamcunque i^ai-tem cbilin- 
dri verteris stilu7?^ sz^^eriore??z, semper vertas stilum bderi- 
oiem in partem ei oppositam. Post hee opponas instr«/- 
mentum. soli, et ad quemcmique gradmn pB?'uenerit vmbra, 
ip^^a est altitudo solis, seu lune, si feceris de Inna, in eade??z 
bora. Quod si volueris scire si fuerit suite meridiem uel 
post, aspice siipev quot gradus ceciderit vmbra, et expectans 
paulisper, iterato sumes altitudi?2em solis ; quod si creuerit 
vmbra, tu?zc est smte meridiem. Siwi?l?Yer quoque scies de 
luna. JEt per hoc ipsuin quod dictujR est, scies vtrum ipsa 
fuerit orientaKs g, meridie uel occidentab's ; qi^ia du??^ 
vmbra crescit, est in parte orientali a meridie, dum uero 
decrescit, est in parte occidentis. 


you will immediately find the sun's degree rectified, and 
this is what you desired. If, however^ you have neither 
of these tables, and wish to seek, in another way, the sun's 
degree or thereabouts, know that, according to the calcu- 
lators, the sun enters a new sign on the 15 th before the 
kalends of every month, as appears in the calendar. Con- 
sider, therefore, how many days of the month in which you 
are have passed, and add to them fifteen days, and keep 
them. Eeckon then the same number of degrees from the 
beginning of the sign in which the sun is, and when the 
number is completed, the same is the sun's degree which 
you seek. But if your number exceeds 30, the sun has 
passed through as many degrees of the next sign as it (the 
number) exceeds 30, if God will. 


Now if it is your pleasure to investigate the altitude of 
the sun or of the moon, turn the upper style over the de- 
grees of the cylinder, and the lower style always into the 
opposite place. And let this be a general rule, that to 
whichever part of the cylinder you turn the upper style 
you always turn the lower style to the part opposite to it. 
After that hold up the instrument against the sun, and 
to whatever degree the shadow reaches, the same is the 
altitude of the sun; or of the moon, if you are deal- 
ing with the moon, at that hour. But if you wish to 
know whether it is before midday, or after, see over how 
many degrees the shadow falls, and having waited a little 
time, take the sun's altitude again, and if the shadow has 
increased, then it is before midday. In like manner you 
will know also of the moon. And by what has been said 
you shall know whether she is on the east of the meridian 
or on the west ; for while the shadow increases, she is on 
the eastern side of the meridian, but while it decreases, she 
is on the western side. 




4. /^ vod si volums scire Imesion meridiei per hoc in- 
\^ stru7nentumj fiat circ2dz^s i?^ si^j^erficie aliqz^a pre- 
parata, eq^^idistaIlter orizonti, cuiz^scunq2<e niagnitud^^ns 
Yolueris, no?i sit iainen nimis pa?'uus ; deinde sumes alti- 
tudi^em Bolis diligentissime, et se?uia eaiii; et suspendes 
etiam in eade??^ liora filu??2 vnu??2 cuw^ aliqz^o ponderoso 171 
directo ia.m fclcti circwli, ita ut vmbra ems cadat omnino 
supei centrum circwli, et attingat ci7'cu??2fere?zcia?/i i^^. parte 
oppo6'ita soli; notabisqwe co?2tactu??z vmbre in circ^?>^fer- 
e?^cia, et pos^ hoc expectab^^^ doii6'c iterate "post meridiem 
liat sol in p?ius accepta altitudi??,e, notahisqiie etiam [leaf 3] 
tn72c vmbra??2 fili super centrum ut prizes t?rmseu?^te/M. 
notab25, dico, co^tactu??^ eius in circumfere?zcia m oppo.<?ito 
Bolis. Deinde diuide arcu??^ q«^i est inter duas notas 
vmbre per eqt^alia, et nota??i i??p?imes, co9dur<!gesq«/e ea??* 
cu??^ cent?^o, pe?^ficiens diametru??2 ci7*c?ili, et hoc diametrum 
erit linea me?idiei. Qz^adrabis quoqae circulum ip6'?^m per 
diametra, et ha?>ebis lineam orientis et occide?2tis, ut ap- 
paret in isto circulo. Sic etiain i^zuenies oni?zes paHes 
orizontis, si Dez^s voiuerit. Et nofa quod hec cowside?'ac^o 
verior et leiiior est quam ilia que lit per erecczoTzem stili 
ortogonalis i7i circz^lo, qitia vix uel iiiincquam "possit ita 
ortogonaliter erigi, sicz^i^ perpendiczdzau dummoc^o pendeat 
inmobilitez\ Bed hec co?2sideraczo yerissima erit, si sumatz^r 
in solsticialibw5 diebzi^, et hoc anfeqz^am sol ascendat mwl- 
tu??i in ilia die. 

l^ota qyod a. et b. suTit note vmbre 
unfe me7'\dieni et ^tost ad eandew alti- 
tudi^^em aoMs ; et mediu???. int^r a. et b. 
est meridieB. 





And if you wish to know tlie meridian line oy means 
of this instrument, let a circle be made, of whatever size 
you will, only let it not be too small, on some plane pre- 
pared (for the purpose) parallel with the horizon. Then 
take the sun's altitude very accurately^ and keep it ; and 
also at the same hour hang, over the circle already made, 
a thread with something heavy (on it), so that its shadow 
falls exactly upon the centre of the circle and reaches the 
circumference on the side opposite to the sun ; and mark the 
(point of) contact of the shadow with the circumference, 
and after this wait until the sun again arrives at the before- 
taken altitude after midday; and mark then also the 
shadow of the thread passing as before across the centre, 
mark, I say, its point of contact with the circumference 
opposite to the sun. Then divide the arc which is between 
the two shadow-marks into equal parts, and impress a 
mark. Join it with the centre, and complete the diameter 
of the circle. This diameter will be the meridian line. 
Quarter the circle itself by diameters,^ and you will have 
the line of east and west, as appears in this circle. Thus 
also you will find all parts of the horizon, if God will. 
]N'ote that this observation is truer and easier than that, which 
is made by raising a rectangular style in the circle, because it 
can with difficulty or never be raised as rectangularly as a 
plumb-line, provided it (viz. the plumb-line) hangs motion- 
less. But the observation will be truest., if it be made on the 
solstitial days, and that before the sun rises high on that day. 


Note that a and d are the shadow- 
marks before midday and after, at 
the same altitude of the sun, and 
the middle point between a and b «o 
is midday. o 

^ That is, draw another diameter 
at right angles to the former. 




5. 7VT^'^^ (iice?^duw^ est quid sit -vmbra versa, e^ qwid 
-L^ sit vmbra extensa. Igiiur i?2t^lligani2/s sw^erfi- 
ciem qua7ida,7n equidista?2teiii orizonti, et super hanc super- 
ficiein intelligsimus aliquid ortogonalite?' erectnm, YerM 
gi^atia, palum lectmn ; lnuius pali sic er^eti cadens Ymhra 
in d'/c^am sw_perficiem dicituT Ymhra extensa. Est igitur 
Ymbra extensa rei erecte ad super^Giem. orizontis perpen- 
diez^lariter vmb?'a cadens i?? eadem s?/^9erficie. 


6. TTem intelligam?^^ eandem Bupev^ciem quam pm«5, et 
JL in ipsa aliqwid perpe?zdicz^lariter ercctuT^z, et ab illo 
s^c erecto inteJUgSimus stilum brtogonak'to promine7^te??^, 
sic2^^ sunt stili qui promine^xt in parietibz^/? eGdesia.Tum ad 
horas sumeTzdas ; Ymh7rc \mius stili cade?2s supex lem orto- 
gonaliter erecta??^, eqi^idistanter s[cilicet] lo7zgitud?'?2i ei^^s- 
dem rei, dicituv vmbra versa ; eq?/idistanter, dico, cade?zs, 
quia aliter esset vmb^^a irregz^laris. Et huiusmodi vmbro^ 
cadit in chilindro. Hec mttem vmbn/ versa semper crescit 
vsqwe ad meridiem, et tu7zc, i[d est] in meridie, est maxima. 
EcoTiuerso est de vmb?'a extensa, quia ilia decrescit vsqe^e 
ad meridie?7Z, ^t tuTzc fit minima. 


7. f^ vm volue?is scire omm hora q^^ot piiTzcta ha&uerit 
y<J vmbra versa, verte stilum super pu;2cta vmbre, et 
super q?iot puTicta ceciderit vmbra, ipsa suwt puncta vmb?'e 
q?iesite. (^uod si volneris [scire] vmbra?7z extensam ad 
eandem altitudi/zem, diuide 144 per [leaf 3&] pn/icta qwe habn- 
eris, et exibu^^t pu;?cta vmbre extense in eadem hora. Et si 
volne?is scire qz/ot states sii;?t in vmbra, dim'de piiTzcta qz^e 


Now we must explain what is the umbra versa, and 
what the U7nhra extensa. Therefore let us conceive some 
plane parallel to the horizon, and on this plane let us con- 
ceive something raised at right angles, for instance, a 
straight stake ; the shadow of this stake so raised, falling 
on the said plane, is called umbra extensa. The umbra 
extensa is, therefore, the shadow of an object which is 
raised perpendicularly to the plane of the horizon, falling 
on the same plane. 


Also let us conceive the same plane as before, and upon 
it something raised perpendicularly; and from the latter 
so raised let us conceive a, style jutting out at a right 
angle, like the styles which jut out from the walls of 
churches for taking the hours ; the shadow of this style 
falling upon the object raised at right angles, parallel, of 
course, to the length of the same object,^ is called umbra 
t^ersa — ^falling parallel, I say, because otherwise the shadow 
would be irregular. And such a shadow falls on the 
cylinder, Now this umbra versa always increases until 
midday, and then, that is at midday, it is greatest,; the 
contrary is the case with the umbra extensa, for that de- 
creases until midday, and then becomes least. 


When you wish to know how many points the umbra 
versa has at any hour, turn the style over the points of the 
shadow ; and as many points as the shadow falls over, the 
same are the required points of the shadow. But if you 
wi^h to know the umbra extensa at the same altitude, 
.divide 144 by the points which you have, and the result 
will be the points of the umbra extensa at the same hour. 

^ That is, straight down it. 


hahuei'is per 12, et exihunt status. Qicod si no7i liaZ>u[er]is 
12 pu?^cta, uide qnota pa?'S sint -pmicta, de 12, et tota pars 
erunt pu?icta qz^e ha&ueris ad rnxwi statu???. Est aute??zi 
status tota longitudo cukcslihet rei, et quia omnem xem quo 
ad vnibra/?z q\us sume?zda??i dmidlimts in 12 partes eqz^ales, 
p?'(9p2^e?*ea 12 pu?icta vmbre faciu?zt vnum &tatu??2 ; est emm 
quodlihet pu?ictu?>^ lo27gitudmis o?7mis eqi^ale duodecinie 
pa?'ti^'rei cmius est vmb?'a. 


8. ^^vm volue?is scire altitudi?2em turns ^er A^mbraT?^ 
\J versa??^ que cadit in cMlind?-o, aut alti^'i^cZme??^ 
dliGuius rei erecte, Gimi hoc, inquam, volue?'is, verte stilu??^ 
simper pu?icta u??^l)?"e, ei vide se^^:>er q?iot puncta cecide/it 
vmb?Ti^. Deinde coTisid^^a in qzsa pr6>porc2one se baZ^ent 
pu?2cta u??zbre in cbilindro ad stilu???, in esidem ip7^opoTcio7ie 
se ba&et om?as res erecta ad sua??^ umbra???, hoc est, si 
pu?^cta u??2bre in cbilind?'0 fuerint sex, stilus duplus est ad 
vmbra??^, et tmic in eade??? bora erit o??2?zis wnh}xt extensa 
dupla ad suam re??^ ; et si u??^b?'a in cbilindro fue?'it dupla 
ad stilu???, boc est, cum vmb?'a fuerit 24 punctore^???, erzt 
omnis res erecta dupla ad sua??^ u?7Abram ; 6t sic se?npe?" in 
qua p?'oporc?one se luahet unihra cbili?zd?'i ad stiluwi, i'?^ 
ead^??i p?'oporcione se llahet Qcontixirio omnis res erecta ad 
vnibra??^ sua??? extensa???, om??is res erecta, dico, que fec6J?it 
vmbra??i suh ead6??^ sob'.s altii!^?^r?me, in ilia bora; vd, si 
nescieris p?'oporc'/o??6ni sume?*e, diuide 144 pe?* puncta que 
ba&ue?'is, sic?^i^ d?cf?mi est, et exibit vmb?'a rei erecte que 
dioituT exte?^sa, vide 6^?-go q?^ot status sint in ilia u??ib?'a 
extensa, au^^ qz^ota fu(??int pu?icta de 12, et ba&ebis qicod 

^ Head enim^ 
The word vmdre is wrongly inserted after j^^r^t in the MS. 


And if you wish to know liow many status are in the 
shadow, divide the points which you have by 12, and the 
status will be the result. And if you have not 12 points, 
see what part of 12 the points are, and the points which 
you have will be that part of one status. For a status is 
the whole length of any object ; and because we divide 
every object into 12 equal parts whereby to take its shadow, 
therefore 12 points of the shadow make one status ; for 
every point is equal to a twelfth part of the whole length 
of the object, whose the shadow is. 


When you wish to know the height of a tower by the 
umbra versa which falls on the cylinder, or the height of 
any upright object— I say, when you wish this, turn the 
style over the points of the shadow, and see over how 
many points the shadow falls. Then consider : what- 
ever proportion the points of the shadow on the cylinder 
hold to the style, every upright object holds the same 
proportion to its shadow; that is, if the points of the 
shadow on the cylinder be six, the style is double of the 
shadow, and then at the same hour every umbra externa 
will be double of its object; and if the shadow on the 
cylinder be double of the style, that is, when the shadow 
is of 24 points, every upright object will be douT)le of its 
shadow; and so always, whatever proportion the shadow 
on the cylinder holds to the style, conversely every upright 
object holds the same proportion to its umbra extensa, 
every upright object, I say, which throws a,' shadow under 
the same altitude of the sun at that hour. Or, if you do 
not know how to take the proportion, divide 144 by the 
points which you have, as was said, and the result will be 
the shadow which is called extensa of the upright object ; 
see, then, how many status are in that umbra extensa, or 
what part of 12 the points are, and you will have what 
you desired. 



9. /^vm volueris scire declinac^07^em solis omni die 
Vy anni, scias u?7^bra?7^ uersam Arietis in regione in 
qiia fueris, i[d est], scias ad quern gradmn cMliTzdri -pro- 
ue/ziat vmbra stili eius i?^ mmdie, cum fuerit sol in prmo 
gradu Arietis, ei hec es^ u??zbra Arietis in gradihus cliili?^- 
dri hi ilia regione. Quo scito, sume vmbra??^ m^ridiei per 
GhHindvwn quocwtque die volums scire decliiiacio?2eni 
solis, et vide supei quotgradus cliilir<^dn cecident myibi^a, 
et quantuin plus uel lainus fuerit ^l??^b?*a ilia qnam vinb?^a 
Arietis, tanta erit declinacio S0K5 in meridie illiz^s diei. 
Sed si umbra tua fnerit maior quam ymbra Arietis, erit 
declinaci'o solis [leaf 4] septe???t?'ionahV ; si ue?*o minor faerit, 
erzt declinaczo mendiana. Q,uod si yolueris scire gradu??^ 
solis in ilia die per eius declinacio?«em, intra ^ in tab^^lam 
declinaczo?zis soils, et qiiere si7nilem. declinac/o?2eni ei qiiam 
i/zuenisti per cliilivzdruw?, et aliqz^is 4 gradumn quern in 
directo eius inuenei^is erit gradus solis uel fere ; et scies 
quis erit gt'adus ex ilK^ 4, vt aspicias vtru?7^ declinac/o 
f Merit meridiana uel septemtnonah'^. Q^uod si fuerit meri- 
diana, er^'t yhus de gi^adihus nie?idionalib2^5, et si fuerit 
declinac^o septemtrional^*, erit thus de gradihus septemtri- 
onalibws ; hahent autem omnes 4 gradus eqwidistantes ab 
eqz^inoctiali eande??^ declinac^o?^em. Cmn ergo sciue?is 
quod fuerit yilus de gradib^^s septe?/zt?*ionis sen meridiei, 
scies qwis dnovum fuerit gradus soh'^, ut aspicias seq^^enti 
die deGlinacionem. pe/' cbili?zdru??2, et si myibra fumt maior 
quam die precedent!, fue^itq^^e declmacio meridiana, erit 
gradus ille a Capricorno hi Ariete??i ; et si mnhi^a tsdis de- 
clinacionis fue?it mi?2or, er^t gradus ille a Librcr in Capri- 
cornum ; si ue?'o mnhixi creuerit, fue?'itqwe declinacio sep- 
temtrionah*^, exit giridus ille ab Ariete in Cancrum ; si ue/-o 
decreuerit, a Cancro in Libram. 

' MS 'ivixta: 



When you wish to know the declination of the sun on 
. any day in the year, know the mnhra versa of Aries in the 
region in which you are, that is, know to what degree of 
the cylinder the shadow of its style reaches at midday, 
when the sun is in the first degree of Aries, and this i«5 the 
shadow of Aries in the degrees of the cylinder in that 
region. That being known, take the midday shadow by 
the cylinder on whatever day you wish to know the de- 
clination of the sun, and see over how many degrees of the 
cylinder the shadow falls, and the declination of the sun 
at noon of that day, will be as great as that shadow is 
greater or less than the shadow of Aries. But if your 
shadow is greater than the shadow of Aries, the sun's de- 
clination will be northern, but if it is less, the declination 
will be southern. And if you wish to know the sun's de- 
gree on that day by his declination, enter into the table of 
the sun's declination, and seek a similar declination to that 
which you have found by the cylinder, and some one of 
the 4 degrees which you find on a line with it will be the 
sun's degree or nearly (so) ; and you shall know which 
will be the degree out of those 4, as you look whether the 
declination is southern or northern ; for if it be southern, 
it will be one of the southern degrees, and if the declina- 
tion be northern, it will be one of the northern degrees. 
But all the 4 parallel degrees have the same declination 
from the equinoctial. When, therefore, you know that it 
is one of the northern degrees or of the southern, you 
shall know which of the two is the degree of the sun, as 
you observe the declination on the following day by the 
cylinder, and if the shadow be greater than on the preced- 
ing day and the declination be southern, the degree will be 
that from Capricorn towards Aries ; and if the shadow of 
such declination be less, the degree will be that from 
Libra towards Capricorn ; but if the shadow has increased 
and the declination is northern, the degree will be that 
from Aries towards Cancer j but if it has decreased, from 
Cancer towards Libra. 



10. IjlT si volueris scire SiltiftidiiiQin solis que poterit 
i J esse omni liora aniii, vide quantum capiet que- 
libet hora anni de gradibus cliiliTzdri, iiie?zsurando -pei' cir- 
ciniim aut per festncam, et ipsa, eiit altitude solis ad quam- 
lihet llora??^ anni in regione tua, s[cilicet], s^^j9er quam. 
figurantwr liore chili?zdri, si Deus voluerit. 


11. ^I volums scire latitudi?iem regionis ignote ad 
k3 quam veneris, iune ve^'tes stilu??z supei gradus 
altitudwzis, et vide ad qjtoi gradus peruenerit vmbra. 
QwocZ si lnoc feceris in die eqmnoctiali, niinne gradus qz^os 
liabiieris de .90, et residllu??^ erit latitude regionis. Qxtod 
si non feceris \\oe in eqvinoctio, vide per taL?^lam declma- 
c/onis qwe fuerit ^eeUnacio solis in ipsa die. Q?eam de- 
elinaeionem, si fuerit australis, adde mijpe^c suscepta??^ 
diXiitudinem, et liaZ>ebis dltitudmem eq?iinoctiahs hi eade??z 
regione ; et si decl/??.acio fuerit septemtrionaKs, minue ea??i 
de accepta dliitudiiLe, ha&ebisqzte dltitudmem eqwinoctiaKs 
in eade?7i regione. Ha/^ita autem ^Ititiidine eqzdnoctial/s, 
minuas ip6'am semper de 90, et residuum er/t latitude regi- 
onis, qzie est distencia cenith ab eqzdnoctiali. 


12. Oil aute??^ volueris scire quan\ii?iiem [ieaf4,bk] cir- 
KJ qmHus terre per cbilindrum, verte stilu??^ supe?* 
gradus cbilindri, et scias optime gr^dum solis et dLQclinaci- 
onem eius, et se^^ua eam. Cmnque hoc sciueris, sumas 
altitudi^iem soK? meridianam, et senia earn ; post bee 
aute?}^ p7*ocedas directe uersus septe??^trione??^ uel nieridie???, 
donee altera die, absq?;e augme72ta[ta] uel minorata interim 


10. ON (finding) the altitude of the sun at any 


And if you wish to know tlie sun's altitude, wliicli may 
be at any hour of the year, see how much of the degrees of 
the cylinder any hour of the year will take, measuring with 
the compasses or with a rod, and the same will be the 
san's altitude at any hour of the year in your region, that 
is to say, (the region) upon which the hours of the cylinder 
are figured, if God will. 


If you wish to know the latitude of an unknown region 
to which you have come, then turn the style over the de- 
grees of altitude, and see to how many degrees the shadow 
reaches. And if you do this on the equinoctial day, sub- 
tract the degrees which you have from 90, and the re- 
mainder will be the latitude of the region. But if you do 
this not at the equinox, see by the table of declination 
what is the sun's declination on the same day ; add the 
declination, if it be southern, to the altitude you have 
taken, and you will have the altitude of the equinoctial in 
the same region ; and if the declination be northern, sub- 
tract it from the taken altitude, and you will have the 
altitude of the equinoctial in the same region. Moreover, 
the altitude of the equinoctial being had, subtract it always 
from 90, and the remainder will be the region's latitude, 
which is the distance of the zenith from the equinoctial. 


If, moreover, you wish to know the extent of ' the 
earth's circumference by the cylinder, turn the style over 
the degrees of the cylinder, and know most accurately the 
degree of the sun and his declination, and keep it. And 
when you know this, take the meridian altitude of the sun, 
and keep it. Then after this travel directly northward or 
southward, until on another day, without increase or de- 


declinacioiiG, ascenderit sol iii gradihus cliiliiidri plus vno 
gradu quam -prins ascenderit, plus dico^ si processeris 
versus meridiem, uel minuSj si pr(>cesseris uersus septemtri- 
onewz, et isim pertr(2nsisti spacium in te?Ta quod sz^biacet 
vni gradui celi. Metire ergo ill^^d, et vide quot miliaria 
sint in eo. Deinde mz^ltiplica, s[cilicet], miliaria illiz^^ 
spacij quod habneris iper 360, qui snnt grc^dus circ2/li, et tot 
miliaria scias esse in circuitu mu?zdi. (^uod si voluens 
scire spissitudinem mu?^di, diuide circuitu??^ ^ius per tria 
et septimam partem ytAus, eritqwe hoc quod exierit diame- 
tru??2 terre, et medietas &ius erit qz^antitas qu^^ est a s?^perfi- 
cie ad centru?7i eius, si Dews voluerit. De inueniendis 
autem ascendente et ceteris domibz^^' per vmbram satis 
dzcfwm est in lecc^onib^^s tabular^*r/^, et ideo de illis nichil 
ad presens. Et bee de p?'actica chilindri sufficiant. Ex- 

Explicit practica chilindri Mag2S2'ri Iouannis de 



crease of declination in the mean time, tlie sun has risen 
one degree more in the degrees of the cylinder than he 
rose before; more, I say, if you have travelled south- 
ward, or less, if you have travelled northward j and now 
you have traversed on the earth the space which lies 
under one degree of the heaven. Measure it therefore, and 
see how many miles are in it. Then multiply, of course, 
the miles in that space which you have by 360, which are 
the degrees of a circle, and know that there are so many 
miles in the circumference of the world. But if you wish 
to know the thickness of the world, divide its circumfer- 
ence by three and the seventh part 6f one, and the result 
will be the diameter of the earth, and half of it will be the 
distance from its surface to the centre, if God will. But 
on finding the ascendant and the other houses by the 
shadow enough has been said in the readings of the tables, 
and therefore nothing of them at present. And let this 
suffice upon the working of the cylinder. End. 

Here ends Master John Hoveden, the astrologer's, 

Working of the Cylinder. 










The two main arguments are : — / 

I. That in the ordinary English speech of the 13th and 14th 
centuries there was no recognition of the formative, and little of the 
inflexional, -e, which, chiefly for orthoepical reasons, was appended 
to many words employed in written composition. 

II. That the phonetic recognition of final -e was confined to 
verse composition, and only occasionally adopted by license, under 
rhythmical exigencj^, and consequently not adopted at the end of 
the verse where it was unnecessary. 

These arguments are maintained, (1.) by considerations inherent 
in the nature of the case, (2.) by reference to the practice of Anglo- 
Norman and Early English writers, and are supported by illus- 
trations derived (a.') from the laws which governed the formation 
of words in early French, (&.) from the manner in which Norman 
words are introduced into ancient Cornish poems, and (<?.) from the 
usage of old Low German dialects (especially that of Mecklenburg), 
in respect to words identical (except as legards final -e) with Early 
English words. 




The question whether the final -e, which is so obvious 
a feature of numerous English words in the 13th and 14th 
centuries, was or was not frequently recognized as a factor 
of the rhythm in verse, is not the question which it i^ 
here proposed to discuss. It needs, in fact, no discussion, 
since there can be no doubt whatever on the point. The 
real question is what it meant, that is, whether it was an 
organic and essential element of the words in which it 
occurred, to be accounted for by reference to original 
formation, inflexion, &c., or whether it was, for the most 
part, an inorganic orthoepic adjunct of the spelling, and 
only exceptionally performed any organic function. ' 

If the former hypothesis is true, the -e was recognized 
in the rhythm because it was recognized in ordinary 
parlance as a necessary part of the pronunciation of the 
word, and the instances in which it was silent were excep- 
tional and irregular. If the latter is true, the instances 
in which it was silent represent the regular pronunciation 
of the words, and those in which it is sounded an excep- 
tional pronunciation, allowed by the fashion of the times 
in verse composition. It is a consequence, moreover, of 
the former theory that the -e, being by assumption a neces- 
sary organic part of the word, ought to be sounded even 
where, as in the case of the final syllable of the verse, it m 



not required by the rhythm. By the' latter theory the -e 
of the final rhyme, being generally an inorganic element 
of the orthography, not recognized in the ordinary pro- 
nunciation, and not required by the rhythm, was (with 
rare exceptions, such as Borne—to me, sothe — to the, &c., in 
the Canterbury Tales and elsewhere) silent. 

These theories are obviously inconsiistent with each 
other, the exceptions of the one being the rule of the 
other, and vice versa. The former is that adopted by 
Tyrwhitt, Guest, Gesenius, Child, Craik, Ellis, Morris, 
and Skeat ; the latter is that maintained by the present 
writer, supported to some extent by the authority of the 
late Mr Eichard Price. 

In anticipation of the full discussion of the yarious 
points involved, it may be here briefly remarked, that the 
former theory requires us to assume that such words as 
scliame, veyne, sake, spaee, rose,, joie, vie, sonne, tvitte, 
presse.j were in ordinary parlance pronounced as sclia-me, 
vey-7h3, rose, joi-e, son-ne, wit-te, pres-se; moreover, that 
corage, nature, were pronounced as cora-ge, natu-re, and 
curteisie, JietJienesse, as curteisi-e, Jiethenes-se, and that 
the recognition of the -e in verse as a factor of the rhythm 
was .required to represent the true pronunciation. The 
second theory, on the other hand, assumes that seliame^ 
veyne, seke, joie, ivitte, nature, curteisie^ &c., conventionally 
represent sclidm, veyn, seJc, joi, wit, natur, curteisi, as the 
ordinary pronunciation of the words, and that the recogni- 
tion of the -e as significant, was a rhythmical license. 

By way of further illustration of the difference between 

the two theories, it may be noted that in sucK verses as 

these : 

Enbrouded was he, as it were a mede — C. T. v. 89. 
Ful wel sche sang the servise d&cfne — ib. v. 122; 

the first theory requires mede and devyne to be pro- 
nounced me-de, devy-ne'; the second, regarding mede 
(= A.S. med) and devyne {= Fr. devyn) as conventional 


spellings, requires them to be pronounced med and devpn.- 
Servise (Fr. servis, service), here servi-se, is regular by the 
first theory, exceptional by the second.^ 

The main principle of the theory here adopted is 
that very early (probably in the 12th century) phonetic 
began to supersede djmamic considerations, and, as a con- 
sequence, to change the significance of the originally 
organic -e ; and that this change was especially due to the 
introduction of the [N'orman speech and the usages of the 
IS'orman scribes into England. The I^orman dialect was 
the simplest and purest of all the dialects of the French 
language, and largely exhibited the influence of phonetic 
laws. This influence it began to propagate on its contact 
with English. The first efl'ect was to simplify the for- 
mative English terminations of nouns. Hence in the 
beginning of the 12th century -a, -o, -u (as in tima, hcelo, 
sceamu) became -e (as in time, scearne, or scliame, liele). 
It next acted on the grammatical inflexions, as, for in- 
stance, in nouns, either by suppressing the -e of the 
oblique or dative case altogether (cf. Orrmin's " be word^" 
"bi brsed," "o hoc," "off stan," &c.) ; or by converting it 
from an organic to an inorganic termination, reducing it, 
in short, to the same category as name, ^liame^ liele. It 
next affected the orthography generally by introducing an 
expedient of the I^orman scribes (before unknown in 
England), which consisted in the addition of an inorganic 
-e to denote the length of the radical vowel, an expedient 
which, when adopted in English, converted, after a time, 
A.S. Idr, ten, Md, into lare, bene, hede, without disturbing 
the individuality of the words, and re-acted on name, 

* In support of tlie assumption that sonant -e is exceptional, 
not regular, it may be noted that in the first 100 lines of the Pro- 
logue (Ellesmere text) out of 160 instances of final -e only 22 occur 
in which it is sounded before a consonant ; of the remaining 138 
25 are silent before a consonant, 49 before a vowel or A, and 64 in 
the final rhyme where its sound is superfluous — that is to say, in 
138 instances the words in -e have, it is assumed, their natural 
pronunciation against 22 in which, by license, the -e is reckoned as 
an additional syllable. 


scliame, liele, &c., by treating them (whatever they may 
have been before) as monosyllables. It finally acted on 
the versification by introducing the license, well known 
in early and, by descent, in modern French, of recog- 
nizing, under rhythmical exigency, the inorganic -e (silent 
in ordinary discourse) as a factor of the verse. It hence 
appears that certain principles introduced by the ]^ormans, 
and exhibited in their own tongue, affected first the spoken 
and then the written English, gradually superseding the 
organic function of the -e, by treating it as inorganic, as 
an orthoepic sign to guide the pronunciation of the reader ; 
and that this great change was fundamentally due to the 
law of phonetic economy, which, by its tendency to 
simplification, gradually overpowered the original dynamic 
laws of the language, and ended in converting the forma- 
tive and inflexional -e into a conventional element of the 


Two a priori objections may be taken, and indeed 
have been taken, against this conclusion as applied to 
Chaucer's versification. The first is indicated in these 
words of Mr Ellis,^ "that Chaucer and Gothe used the 
final ~e in precisely the same way," and in these of Pro- 
fessor Child,2 "that the unaccented final -e of nouns of 
French origin is sounded in Chaucer as it is in French 
verse," by which assertions it is afiirmed that the laws of 
modern German and French versification are identical with 
those of Chaucer. 

The full answer to this objection will be found in the 
subsequent investigation, but for the present it may be 
urged, without pressing the argument already presumptively 

* " Early English Pronunciation," p. 339. 

^ " Observations on the Language of Chaucer," by Professor 
Child of Harvard University, a paper contributed to the " Memoirs 
of the American Academy," vol. viii. p. 461. 


3tated, that the use of -e in German a^d French versifica- 
tion is (with very rare exceptions) regular and constant, 
while that in Chaucer is continually interfered with by 
instances of. silent -6, which, indeed, outnumber those in 
which it is sounded (see note, p. 87), even without taking 
into consideration the -e of the final rhyme. Then with 
regard to the final rhyme, the objection as applied to 
French versification proves too much, inasmuch as the -e 
at the end of a French verse is not, and probably never 
was, a factor of the rhythm. This argument, then, as far 
as it is worth anything, is for, not against, the theory here 

The following instances, which are typical, show that 
the laws of French versification are continually violated by 
Chaucer : 

And he hadde ben somtjrme in cMvacMe. — v. 85, 
In lio^e to stonden in his lady grace. — v. 88. 
He sleep nomore than doth a nightyngale. — vv. 97, 98. 
Ful semely aftur hire mete sohe raught. — v. 136. 
By cause that it was old and somdel streyt. — v. 174. 
Afrere ther was, a wantoun and a merye. — v. 208. 
In alle the ordres foure is noon that can. — v. 210, &c. 

If these verses are read by the French rule they become 
unmetrical j it is only by ignoring it that they can be read 
with metrical precision. The conclusion, then, is that the 
only exact identity between French and early English 
versification consists in the silence of the -e at the end of 
the verse. 

]S'or would it be difficult to show from the above and 
from thousands of other instances, that the strict applica- 
tion of the laws of German versification would 
Chaucer unreadable. 

The second a priori argument, first put forward by 
Tyrwhitt, against the theory here adopted, that the -e "at 
the end of a verse was silent, is to the effect that Chaucer 
intended the verse of the Canterbury Tales to be an imita- 
tion of the Italian endecasyllabic, that of Boccaccio, &c., 
and, therefore, that he required the -e at the close of the 



line to be pronounced to make the eleventh syllable. 
Against this assumption, however, it may be urged that he 
simply adopted the decasyllabic French verse, of which 
there were numerous examples before his time. The metre 
of the Chanson de Eoland, Huon de Bordeaux, Guillaume 
d' Orange, &c., as well as of many of the " Ballades " of his 
contemporary Eustache Deschamps, appears to be pre- 
cisely that of the Canterbury Tales. The following are 
typical examples : — 

Co sent EoUenz que la mort le tresprent, 

Devers la teste sur le quer li descent. — Chan, de Roland. 

Ma douce mere jamais ne nie verra. — Huon de Bordeaux. 

Cis las dolans, vrais dex, que devenra. — ih. 

Forment me poise quant si estes navres 

Se til recroiz, a ma fin sui alez. — Guillaume d' Orange. 

En bon Anglais le livre tv2in^2A>2i^.— Eustache Bescham;ps. 

Grant translateur, noble Geoffroy Chaucier. — ib. 

Ta noble plant, ta douce melodie. — %}>. 

We see, then, that there was no occasion for Chaucer to 
go to the Italians for a model. It may, moreover, be 
plausibly urged that in none of Chaucer's earlier works is 
there any trace of Italian influence, whether as regards 
subject, general treatment, or versification. 


Before entering on the illustration by reference to the 
actual usage of early French and English poets of the 
theory which has been already stated, some notice may be 
taken of a characteristic feature of early French and 
English verse which has an important bearing on the 
point at issue.^ It is that of the sectional pause, a stop 
made in the reading of the verse, for the sake of tlie sound, 
and having no immediate connection with the sense. 
This pause in decasyllabic verse (to which, however, it is by 
no means confined) occurred at the end of the fourth or 

^ It is remarkable that scarcely any of the writers on early 
English versification (except Dr Guest) have noticed the sectional 
pause, or explained the true use of the prosodial bars or full-points 
found in the MSS. 


sixth measure, and divided tlie verse into two parts, which 
were prosodially independent of each other; that is, it 
made each part a separate verse. Dr Guest (History of 
English Ehythms, i. 181) thus states the rule generally : 
" When a verse is divided into two parts or sections by 
what is called the middle pause, the syllable which follows 
such pause is in the same situation as if it began the 
verse." The bearing of this point, however, on the ques- 
tion at issue is more fully seen in the usage of early 
French verse, in which the effect of the pause was to 
silence the -e which closed the section. This usage is 
altogether unknown in modern French verse ; a fact which 
of itself forms an argument against the presumed identity 
of the laws of early English and modern French versifica- 
tion. The rule is thus stated by Quicherat (" Yersiiication 
fran^aise," p. 325) : " Une preuve de Vimportance que nos 
dnciens poetes donncdent an repos de la cesure " (he means 
the sectional pause) '' c^est qvUls la traitaieat comme la 
rime, et lui permettaient de prendre une syllahe muette, qui 
rHetaU pa^ comptee dans la mesure.''^ 

This principle, in its application to early Anglo-^N'or- 
man and English, may be thus formulated : — ■ 

The -e that occurred at the sectional pause (and, pre- 
sumptively, that at the final pause closing the 
verse) was silent, and not a factor of the rhythm. 

Instances in which the -e at the pause was silent 
abound in early French and Anglo-E'orman j)oems, and 
this usage was borrowed or imitated by English poets, as 
may be seen in the instances which follow. 

Fors Sarraguce [j Id est en une muntaigne. — Chanson de 

Roland, v. 6. 
De vasselage \\ fut asez chevaler. — ib. v. 25. 
Mais ami jeune |j quiert amour et amie. — Eustache Bes- 

cMmjys, i. 122, 
Car vieillesse \\ sans cause me decoipt. — ib. ii. 20. 
Desous la loi de Home j| na nule region. — Hutebeiif, i. 236. 
8i li cors voloit/(?r^ || ce que lame desire. — ib. i. 399. 
Toz cis siecles es,tfoire \\ mais lautre ert paiement. ~iZ>. i. 400. 


Be medle se purpense |{ par ire par rancour. — Lmigtoft (ed. 

Wright), i. 4. 
La vine sa hole file \\ li done par amour. — il), 
Norice le tient en garde \\ ke Brutus le appellait. — ih. 
I rede we chese a hede || j^at us to werre kan dight. — De 

Brvnne (ed. Hearne, i. 2). 
J3at ilk a kyng of reame j[ suld mak him alle redie. — ih. i. 4. 
Sorow and site he made || l^er was non.ojjer rede. — il). 5. 
That ben commune H to me and the. — Handlyng Synne (ed. 

Furnivall, p. 1). 
In any spyce || Jjat we falle ynne. — ih. p. 2. 
For none ])arefore |[ shulde me blame. — ib. 
On Englyssh tunge [| to make j^ys boke. — ih. 
In al godenesse \\ |?at may to prow. — ih. p. .3. 
^e yeres of grace || fyl l^an to be. — ih. 
Faire floures for tofecclie 1| j^at he bi-fore him seye. — William 

of Palerne (ed. Skeat), v, 26. 
and comsed j^an to crye jj so ken[e]ly and schille. — ih. v. 37. 
Jjanne of saw he ful sone || |?at semliche child. — ih. v. 49. 
J^at alle men vpon molde || no mijt telle his sorwe. — ih. v. 85. 
but carfuli gan sche crie || so kenely and lowde. — ih. v. 152. 

It will 1)6 seen that in all these instances the power of 
the pause overrides the grammatical considerations. Alle, 
commune (plurals), reame, sjyyce, tunge, grace, molde 
(datives), crie (infin.), to fecclie, to crye (gerundial infini- 
tives), have the -e silent. 

The following examples show that Chaucer adopted 
the same rule : — 

Schort was his goune \ with sleeves long and wyde. — Harl, 

V. 93. 
He sleep no more || than doth a nightingale.— iJ. v. 97. 
Hire gretest othe^ || nas but by seint Eloi. — Tyrwliitt^ v. 120. 
Hire grettest ooth |1 nas | but by | seint Loi. — Harl. v. 120. 
That no drojye || fil | uppon | hire brest. — ih. v. 131. 
That no drope || ne iille upon hir brist. — JEllesmere^ v. 181. 
I durste swere || they weyghede ten pound. — Harl. v. 454. 
And of ^Qfeste H that was at hire weddynge. — ih. v. 885. 
And maken alle || this lamentacioun. — ih. v. 935. 
For Goddes love 1| tak ai in pacience. — :ih. v. 1086. 
Into my lierte I] that wol my bane be. — ih. v. 1097. 
No creature i| that of hem maked is. — ih. v. 1247. 
And make a werre jj so scharpe in this cite. — ih. v. 1287. 
Thou mayst hire wynne jj to lady and to wyf. — ih. v. 1289. 
Ther as a heste jj may al his lust -fulfille. — ih. v. 1318. 

^ Othe and ooth are the same word, the inorganic -e being 
merely an index to the sound. This exclamation occurs in 
" Nenil, Sire, par Seint Eloi " (Theatre Frangais du Moyen Age, p. 
120). Lo% itself appears to be simply a contraction of Eloi. 


111 the following instances the independence of the 
second section of the verse is shown : — 

Whan that Aprille || with | hise shore | wes swoote. — 

ffarl.Y, 1. 
And whiche they were || and [ of what | degree. — Elles. v. 40. 
In al t\iQ jparisshe || wyf | ne was | ther noon. — Harl. v. 451. 
Sche schulde slepe \\ in | his arm | al night. — ib. v. 3406. 
That wyde wJiere^ \\ sent | her spy | eerie. — ih. v. 4556. 
Than schal your soide \\ up | to he|ven skippe. — ib. v. 9546. 
For Groddes sake \\ think | how I | the chees. — 'li. v. 10039. 
And with 2b face \\ deed | as ai|sshen colde. — ih. v. 13623. 

In view of the numerous instances given above of the 
silence of the -e at the sectional pause, it would seem a 
fortiori improbable that it would be sounded at the greater 
pause, that formed by the end of the verse. This argu- 
ment, though as yet only presumptive, is held to be 
strongly in favour of the theory adopted by the present 
waiter, who would therefore read, 

In God|des love |1 tak al | in palcience 
as ten syllables and no more. 

Even if the illustrations adduced are not admitted as 
decisive of the silence of -e at the end of the verse, they 
undoubtedly account for its silence at the sectional pause 
as a characteristic of Anglo-IlTorman and Early English 
versification, and confirm the general argument, that in 
Chaucer's time the law of phonetic economy prevailed over 
what have been assumed to be the demands of word- 
formation and grammar. 


The position to be here maintained has been already 
stated (see p. 87), and amounts to this, that, as a con- 
sequence of I^orman influence, the -e, which, whether 

^ If the -e of TDliere is sounded, it is probably the single instance 
in which it is so used, either in Chaucer or any other Early English 
writer. Here and tliere, too, are always nionosyllables, and there- 
fore Mr Child's marking of them as dissyllables when final, as in 
1821, 3502, 5222, &c., is entirely gratuitous. They will be con- 
sidered hereafter. 


formative or inflexional, was once organic and significant, 
became, as in time = tlm, dede = ded, &c., simply a 
mark or index of the radical long vowel sound, or as in 
witte = wit, presse = press, a mere conventional append- 
age of the doubled consonant which denoted the radical 
short vowel sound. 

It is further assumed that this phonetic influence, 
which probably acted first on the formative -e, as in the 
instances just given, gradually involved mth varying 
degrees of velocity also the inflexional -e, and therefore 
that the so-called oblique cases as roote, hretJie, ramme, &g., 
and the infinitives as take, arise, telle, putte, merely repre- 
sent in their spelling the sounds rot, h^eth, ram, tdk, arls, 
tel, put, the formative and the inflexional -e being reduced 
to the same category. 

The doctrine here laid down in its largest generality 
involves, it is easily seen, the whole question of the cor- 
respondence between the sound of words uttered in ordin- 
ary speech and their orthographic representation, as far as 
the final -e is concerned, and is to be considered independ- 
ently of the exceptional use of -e as, by the usage of the 
times, an occasional factor of the verse. If, however, it 
can be proved it disposes entirely of the assumption that 
the -e was sounded at the end of the verse, 'and this is the 
main object in view. 


The main points, then,. to be proved — ^by reference to 
the nature of the case and to actual usage — are, that in the 
time of Chaucer and long before, final -e had become either 
(1) an orthoepic or orthographic mark to indicate the sound 
of the long radical vowel or diphthong, or (2) a superfluous 
letter added for the eye, not for the ear, after a doubled 


These conventionalities may be reduced for convenience 
of reference to the following 

Canons of orthography and orthoepy. 

Canon I. (1) When final -e followed a consonant or 
consonants which were preceded by a long vowel or 
diphthong, it was not sounded. 

Thus mede = med, rose = ros, veyne = veyn, 

(2) When final -e followed a vowel or diphthong, tonic 
or atonic, it was not sounded. 

Thns curteisie = curteid^ glorie = glori, iveye = wey, 
merie = meri. 

Canon II. When final -e followed a doubled consonant 
or two different consonants, preceded by a short 
vowel, it was not sounded. 

Thus witte = lolt, hlisse = hVis, sette = set, ende = 
hid, Teste = rest. 

Once more admitting that the -e in each of these cases 
could be made, and was made, at the will of the poet, 
exceptionally significant, we proceed to consider these pro- 
positions seriatim, merely observing, by the way, that these 
rules — framed and adopted five or six hundred years ago — 
are in substance the same as those now in common uge. 

(1.) Final -e suffixed to a consonant or consonants lohicli 
were preceded hy a long vowel or diphthong, as in mede, 
penaunce, veyne. 

On this point we are bound to listen to the doctrine of 
Mr Eichard Price, contained in the preface to his edition of 
Warton's History of English Poetry. 

Eef erring first to the fact that in A.S. the long vowel of 
a raonosyllabic word was commonly marked by an accent, 
which in the Early English stage of the language was 
entirely disused, he inquires what was done to supply its 
place, and maintains that in such cases an -e was generally 
suffixed to indicate the long quantity of the preceding 


radical vowel. "The I^orman scribes/' he says, "or at 
least the disciples of the !]Krorinaii school, had recourse to 
the analogy which governed the French language ;" ^ and, 
he adds, " elongated the word or attached, as it were, an 
accent instead of superscribing it." "From hence," he 
proceeds to say, "has emanated an extensive list of terms 
having final e's and duplicate consonants, [as in witte, 
synne, &c.,] which were no more the representatives of 
additional syllables than the acute or grave accent in the 
Greek language, is a /mark of metrical quantity."- He adds 
in a note, " The converse of this can only be maintained 
under an assumption that the Anglo-Saxon words of one 
syllable multiplied their numbers after the Conquest, and 
in some succeeding century subsided into their primitive 
simplicity." Illustrating his main position in another 
~ place,2 he observes, " The Anglo-Saxon a was pronounced 
like the Danish aa ; the Swedish a, or our modern o in 
more^ fore, &c. The strong intonation given to the words 
in which it occurred would strike a l!^orman ear as indicat- 
ing the same orthography that marked the long syllables of 
his native tongue, and he would accordingly write them 
with an e final. It is from this cause that we find liar, 
sdr, Jidt, bat, wd, an, ban, stdn, &c., written hoi^e (hoar), 
so7^e, liote (hot), bote (boat), -woe, one, bone; stone, some of 

^ Mr Price makes no attempt to prove this position, but a few 
remarks upon it may not be out of place here. The general 
principle in converting Latin words into French was to shorten 
them, and the general rule, to effect this by throwing off the termin- 
ation of the accusative case. Thus calic-em would become calic, 
which appears in Old French both as caliz and calice^ evidently 
equivalent sounds. So we find vertiz, devis, servis, s^ir-jplis, graas^ 
and in phonetic spelling ros, olios. Conversely, as showing the 
real sound of such words, we find in Chaucer and other English 
poets, trespaas, solaas, caas, faas, gras (also grasse), las, which 
interpret solace, case, face, grace, lace, as words in which -e was 
mute, and this because it was mute in French. French words 
ending in -nee, as sentence, pacience, experience, were presumpt- 
ively sounded without -e, since we find Chaucer and other English 
writers expressing them as sentens, paciens, experiens. See Ap- 
pendix I " On the final ^e of French nouns derived from Latin." 

^ End of note to the Saxon Ode on the Victory of Athelstan. 


whicli have "been retained. The same principle of elonga- 
tion was; extended to all the Anglo-Saxon vowels that were 
accentaated; such as rec, reke (reek), lif, life, gody gode 
(good), scur, sliure (shower); and hence the majority of 
those e's mute, upon which Mr Tyxwhitt has expended so 
much unfounded speculation." ^ 

Mr Price means to assert — ^what is maintained by 
the present writer — ^that an original monosyllable, as 
lif\ for instance, was never intended by those who sub- 
sequently wrote it life to be considered or treated, when 
used independently, as a word of two syllables, though 
when introduced into verse it might be employed as such, 
under the stress of the rhythm. There seems an a priori 
absurdity in the conception of such an interference with 
the individuality of a word, as is involved in denying the 
essential identity of lif and life. The fact, too, that in 
Early English, as distinguished from Anglo-Saxon so 
called, nearly, if not quite all, the words in question 
appear as monosyllables, seems strildngly to confirm the 
hypothesis. Thus in the Orrmulum we find hoc, Uod^ 
trad, hraed, ewen, daed, daef, daelp, god, solp, wa, an, stan, 
nearly all of which are the identical A.S. forms, and were 
most of them in later texts lengthened out by an inorganic 
-e. As the^ pronunciation of these words was no 'doubt 
well established, there seemed no need for the scribe to 
indicate in any way what was everywhere known, but soon 
the confusion that began to arise, in writing, between long 
and short syllables, suggested the more general use of the 
orthoepical expedient in question, and accordingly we find 
in early English texts both forms employed. Thus along 
with lif, strif, drem, hot, &c., we see hede (A.S. bed), 
hene, hone (A.S. ben), hode (A.S. bod), &c. 

The "Early English Poems" (written before 1300, 

* Mr Price promised to resume the subject " in a supplementary 
volume, in an examination of that ingenious critic's ' Essay upon 
the Language and Versification of Chaucer.' " This promise was, 
however, never fulfilled. 


in a ^'pure Sontliern" dialect^) supply us with numerous 
examples. The following are from " A Sarmun *' : 

]?e dere (A.S. deor) is nau:fe (A.S. naht, nawht) pat j^ou 

mighte sle v. 24 

If J30u Qvtpmte (A.S. prut) man, of \}i fleisse v. 25 

]>Q wiked wede (^A.S. wed) Jjat was abute v. 49 

Hit is mi rede (A.S. rad, red) while ]?ou him hast v. 61 

Jjen spene j^e gode (A.S. god) \)Q,t god ham send v. 68 

His hondes, is/<9^^ (A.S. fet) sul ren of blode v. 117 

Of sinful man J^at sadde pi Mode (A.S. bldd) v. 124 

'Bo]>Qfire (A.S. fyr) and wind lude sul crie v. 125 

And forto hir J^e bitter dome (A.S. dom) v. I34 

Angles sul quake, so seij? ]}Q lohe (A.S. boc) v. 135 

To crie ihsu Jjin ore (A.S. ar) v. 142 
While jjou ert here (A.S. her) be wel iware (A.S. gewar) v. 143 

Undo ^in hert and live is lor'e (A.S. lar) v. 144 

Hit is to late (A.S. Iset) whan ]?ou ert ]}a7'e (A.S. jjger, Jjar, 

>er) V. 146 

For be \>q soule (A.S. sawl) enis oute (A.S. tit) v. 171 

he nel no^t ieue his eir al 5(«r^ (A.S. baer) v. 174 
and helpi]? j^ai j^at habij? nede (A.S. nead, neod, ned) v. 186 

\)Q ioi of heven hab to oiiede (A.S. med) v. 188 
heven is hei3 bo)?e lange (A.S. lang) and wide (A.S. wid) v. 213 

In this long list of passages it will be seen that not one 
instance occurs in which the formative -e is phonetic, so 
that hede^ hone, Mode, hoTce, ore, here, lore, nede, hare, loare, 
loide, late, &c., are all treated as words of one syllable 
in which the -e is merely an orthoepical index to the 

These instances, alone, go far to show what the ordinary 
pronunciation of the words in question was, and to make 
it appear very improbable that, except by poetical license, 
the -e which closes them was ever pronounced. 

It appears, then, clear that the A.S. words above quoted 
are absolutely equivalent to the corresponding Early English 
words ending in -e. But the principle admits. of some ex- 
tension. We find that not only A.S. words ending in a 
consonant assumed -e in Early English, but that the A.S. 
terminations -a, -o, -u, were also represented by -e. This we 
see in time from tima, and hele from haelo, or haelu. When 

* ** Some notes on the leading grammatical characteristics of the 
principal Early English dialects." By Wm. T. P. Sturzen-Becker, 
Ph.D. Copenhagen, 1868. 


these forms were generally adopted, the next step would 
he to consider them as in the same category as Uode, dome, 
&c., and to apply the same rule of pronunciation to them. 
Hence, except hy way of license, we find in the 13th and 
14th centuries no practical difference in the use of the two 
classes of words — crede from creda, stede from steda, care 
from cearu, shame from sceamu, "being treated precisely as 
hlode from bl6d, dome from d6m, &c. ; and the same remark 
applies to such adjectives as hlitlie, dene, grene, &c., which 
An their simple indefinite use, at least, were probably mono- 

The position now gained is, that the -e in such English 
words as dome, mede, fode, mone, name, &c., was orthoepic, 
not organic. It is highly probable — as Mr Price appears 
to have believed — ^that Latin words became French by a 
similar process, and that the orthoepic expedient in question 
is of French origin.^ The ISTorman words place, grace, 
face, space, as interpreted in English by plas^ graas, faas, 
spas, are found in " Early English Poems," and later, in 
Chaucer, and we also find conversely trespace, case, for 
the French trespas, cas. Both in Early French and English 
we moreover find as equivalent forms, devis, devise, and 
device ; servis, servise, service ; pris, ptrise, price ; surplis, 
surplice ; assis, assise.^ 

It will now be shown by examples, both Anglo-Norman 
and English, that in words containing a long vowel 
followed by a consonant and final -e, the -e was simply an 
index to the quantity of the vowel, and therefore not 
generally pronounced in verse composition — though under 
stress of the rhythm it might be. - ., 

The usage in Anglo-Norman verse will first be shown 
generally : 

^ See Appendix I. 

^ The phonetic identity of -s, -sse, -ce, in Anglo-Norman and 
English is shown by numerous illustrations in a paper by the pre- 
sent writer, on Norman and English pronunciation^ in the Philo- 
logical Transactions for 1868-9, pp. 371, 418-19, 440, 


Quy a la dame de parays. — Lyrical Poetry of reign of Edward 

i. (ed. Wright), p. 1. 
Quar ele porta le noble enfant. — ih, 
De tiele cliose tenir grant pris. — il). p. 3. 
Vous QstQB pleyne de grant docour. — ih. p. 65. 

The word dame is derived from domin-am = domin = 
domn = dom = dam = da7ne, just as anim-am becomes 
anim, anm^ dm, ame. In both instances the -e is inorganic. 

Dame frequently occurs in Chaucer, and generally, as 
we might expect, with -e silent. ^ Examples are : — 

Of themperoures doughter dame Custaunce. — Harl. v. 4571. 
Madame, quod he, ye may be glad & blithe. — -i^. v. 5152. (See 
also V. 4604, 7786, &c:) 

We may presume, then, that at the end of a line, the -e 
in this word would be silent, and that the -e of any word 
rhyming with it would therefore be silent, as of Uame in 

And elles certeyn hadde thei ben to 'blame : 

It is right fair for to be clept madam,e. — Sari. v. 378-9. 

We may infer, then, that English words of the same 
termination — as scJiame, name, &c., would follow the same 
rule — and accordingly we find — 

Jje more scliame j^at he him dede. — Ear. Eng. Poems, p. 39. 

We stunt no|7er for scliame ne drede. — id. p. 123. 

In gode burwes and ]}Qv-fram 

Ne f unden he non J^at dede hem sham. — Haveloh (ed, Skeat), 

V. 55-6. 
Ful wel ye witte his nam, 
Ser Pers de Birmingham. — Harl. v. 913 (date 1308) ; 

and in Wiclif 's " Apology for the Lollards " (Camden 
Society), "in fe nam of Crist" (p. 6); "in nam of the 
Kirke" (p. 13), <fec., as also "in the name'' on the same 
page. We may therefore conclude that shame = sham, and 
Qidme = nam. - - 

Following out the principle we should conclude that 

^ Professor Child, in a communication to Mr Furnivall, in- 
tended for publication, decides that "da^ne is an exception " from 
the general rule, but quotes Chaucer's usage of fame throughout the 
" House of Fame " as a dissyllable. There is, of course, no disputing 
the fact, but we see nothing in it beyond a convenient license. 
Does Mr Child pretend that fame was formed on some special 
principle, and for this reason. employed by Chaucer as a dissyllable? 


what is true of -ame would also be true of -erne, in dveme, 
4me in rime^ -ome in dome, -ume in coustume ; and by- 
extending the analogy we should comprehend -ene in queue, 
4ne in jpine, as well as -ede in hede, -ete in swete, -ote in 
note, -ute in pruie, -ere in chere, &c., and expect that the -e 
in all these cases would be mute. This, with exceptions 
under stress, is found to be the case — the l^orthern MSS. 
(as seen above) very frequently even rejecting it in the 

For the purpose of this inquiry it is obvious that such 
terminations as -ume, -ine, -ete, -ere, -age, -ance, &g., are virtu- 
ally equivalent to monosyllabic words of the same elements. 
As, however, it would be quite impossible without extend- 
ing the investigation to an enormous length, to illustrate 
them all, the terminations -are, -ere, -ire, -ure, -age, -ance, 
will be taken as types of the class. 

-ere. "We commence with -ere because Professor Child 
asserts that " there can be no doubt -e final was generally 
pronounced after r," a conclusion inconsistent with the law 
of formation ah^eady considered, and, as it would appear, 
with general usage in early Anglo-l!Torman and English. 
He farther maintains that "the iinal -e of deere (A.S. deor, 
deore) and of cheer e (Fr. chere) was most distinctly pro- 
nounced " [in Chaucer]. 

The first of these propositions evidently includes the 
second, and means that words in -are, as hare, in -ere, as 
here, in -ii'e, as fire, in -ore, as lore, generally have sonant -e. 
ISTow it has been shown (p. 98) that tare, here, fire, lore, 
were monosyllables in the 1 3th century. It is, therefore, 
extremely improbable that these words would in the 14th 
century put on another syllable. And if not these words, 
why others of the same, termination, as deere and cheer e ? 
However frequently, then, such words may appear in 
Chaucer, with, sonant -e^ the cases are exceptional, and 
being themselves exceptions from a general rule, cannot 
form a separate rule to override the general one. 

en. ESSAIS. H 


Althougli, then, it were proved that Chancer more 
generally than not uses deere as a dissyllable, that fact 
being exceptional cannot prove that Jieref^ prayers, frere, 
manere^ matere, have the -e sonant because they rhyme with 
deei^e. The argument, in fact, runs the other way, inas- 
much as Jieret which is without exception a monosyllable 
- — manere and mCitere, which are almost without exception 
dissyllables, being themselves representatives of the general 
law of analogy — have a right, which no exceptional case 
can have, to lay down the law. When therefore we find 
lieere and deere rhyming together, it is here, not deere, 
that decides the question, and proves deere in that in- 
stance to be a monosyllable. We are indeed, in deter- 
mining such cases, always thrown back on the formative 
law, which, being general, overrides the exceptions. All 
the instances, then, in which deere ■ rhymes with here, 
onanere and matere, are instances of monosj^llabic deere. 
As to chere, on which Mr Child also relies, he seems to 
have forgotten that this word is very frequently written 
cheer (there are eight such instances in the Clerk's Tale 
alone), and wherever so written confirms, and indeed proves, 
the contention that it was only exceptionally a dissyllable. 
Every instance, then, in which deere and clieere rhyme with 
here, there, ivhere, matere, manere, frere, deere, all repre- 
sentatives of the formative rule, is an argument against Mr 
Child's partial induction. 

A few instances will now be given, showing the use of 
-are, -ere, -ire, -ore, -ure, in Anglo-IsTorman and English 
Avriters : 

-are, -ere, -ire, -ore : — 

^ No instance has yet been met with in Chaucer of Jiere, there, 
or manere with sonant -e. Two from Gower of manere^ as a tri- 
syllable, have been found by Professor Child. Gower however, 
who affected Frenchisms everywhere, being, if possible, more 
French than the native authorities, and in his French ballads writes 
in the "French of Paris," not Anglo-Norman — is no authority on 
the question. 


Si fut im si7'e^ de Rome la citet. — Alexis, v. 13. 

Quant vlnt 2i\fare, dune le funt gentement. — ih. v. 47. 

Eu cele manere^ Dermot le reis. — Conqiiest of Ireland (ed. 

Michel), p. 6. 
Vers Engletere la haute mer. — ih. p. 153. 
En Engleter sodeinement. — French Chronicle (Cam. Soc), 

Deus le tot puissant ke ceel e terre crea. — Langtoft (ed. 

Wright), V. 1. 
Ke homme de terre venuz en ierre revertira. — ih. 
Uncore vus pri pur eel confort. — Lyrical Poetry , p. 55. 

Then, for English instances ; 

Jjyare wes mi latymer. — Lyrical Poetry, p. 49. 

Caretvl men y-cast in care. — ih, p. 50. 

TharetovQ ne lette me nomon. — ih. p. 74. 

Ther is [mani] maner frute. — Land of Cohaygne^ v. 49. 

On ]?ys manere handyl j?y dedes. — Handlyng Bynne, p. 5. 

Four manere joy en hy hedde here. — Shor Cham's Poems (Percy 

Soc), p. 118. 
And alle ine nout maner . . . Ine stede of messager. — ih. p. 119. 
Sire qua)? ]3is holi maide our louerd himself tok. — Seinte 

Margarete (ed. Cockayne), p. 27. 
Fp'st of my hyre my lorde con wynne. — AlUt. Poems, i. v. 582. 
Bifore'^ |?at spot my honde I spennd. — ih. i. v. 49. 
pat were i-falle for prude an hore 

To fille har stides j^at mer ilor. — Ear. Eng. Poems, p. 13. 
And never a day J?e dore to pas. — ih. p. 137. 
More |3en me lyste my drede aros. — ih. v. 181. 

^ In Anglo-Norman verse of the 13th century Sire is generally 
a monosyllable, and is even repeatedly vs^ritten Sir. See in " Polit- 
ical Songs " (Camd. Soc), pp. ^^, 67, " Sir Symon de Montfort," 
"Sir Rogier," and also in "Le Privilege aux Bretons," a song con- 
taining, like that just quoted from, a good deal of phonetic spelling, 
" Syr Hariot," " Syr Jac de Saint-Calons " and " Biaus Sir "' (Jubi- 
nal's " Jongleurs et Trouveres," pp. 52 — ^T). Writings of this kind 
in which words are phonetically, not conventionally, spelt, are often 
very valuable as showing the true sound, and illustrate a pithy re- 
mark of Professor Massafia's, that " pathological examples are fre- 
quently more instructive than sound ones." 

^ Ijq the "Assault of Massoura," an Anglo-Norman poem (13th 
century, Cotton MS. Julian A. v.), we find mere,frere, hanere, arere^ 
almost always spelt without the -e. Manere (when not final) is a 
dissyllable, and, when final, rhymes with hanere, which in its turn 
rhymes with/^'^r. Master and mestere both occur, and the latter 
rhymes with eschapere and governere, for eschaper and governer, 
showing that the added -e was inorganic and merely a matter of 

^ A.S. hiforan became in Early English hifpren, which fell 
under the orthoepic rule which, as in many infinitives (see infra), 
elided the -e in the atonic syllable -en. Biforen thus became 
hiforn, then lost the n and received an inorganic or index letter, e, 
becoming hifore or hefore. No instance has yet been found by the 
present writer, of hifore as a trisyllable. 


py worde Mfore J^y wytte con lie. — Ear. Eng. Poems, v. 294. 
Louerd, heo seide, ic bide ^e : l^at ilore were of Marie. — ■ 
Sei7ite Marg., p. 25. 

These instances in both languages are true illustrations 
of the formative law, and the spellings mer, frer, maner, 
mater, bcmer, ther, ilor, &c., show that -e in mere, frere, 
&c., was not sounded in the 13th century. Other JSTorman 
words, too, on entering into English lost the inorganic -e, as 
l!^. grenere, E. garner ; ]^. vicaire, E. viker ; ]^. gramaire, 
E. gramer; l!^. messagere, E. messager, messangerj ]N". 
damisele, E. damsel; IsT. crenelle, E. kernel; ]Nr. doctrine, 
E. doctrin; IST. merveille, E. mervel, marvel; JST. vitaille^ 
E. vittel; &c. 

Chaucer recognized the principle by writing maner, 
mater, haner, ryver, as well as hopper, sleper, &c., and in 
not S'ounding the -e in mellere, outridere, &c. 

-ure. The case of,-ure demands special consideration. 
It appears that I^orman -ure, when tonic, became some- 
times English -our, as armilre = armour (without ~e) , 
and it further appears that the same JN'orman termination 
when the accent was displaced became English ur = er. 
Thus JS^orman aventure became English dventur, dventer, 
aunter. These changes had taken place in the 13th cen- 
tury. In the 14th we find in Wiclifs "Apology" figer, 
Greater, scripter, &c., ion figure^ &c. In all these instances 
there is no trace of -e. It is probable that, whether the 
spelling was changed or not, the -e in -ure^ both tonic and 
atonic, was never sounded, except by poetical license. 

A few passages are subjoined to illustrate the usage 
of -ure:"^ 

^ Mr Grant White (as quoted in Ear. Eng. Pron., 3rd part) 
also cites from Shakspere, nnrter, futer, venter, lecter, nater, 
&c., apparently showing that the usage of the 13th century had 
been maintained throughout. This pronunciation persisted until 
the end of the 17th century, and is still provincial or, so called, 

^ In the " Privilege aux Bretons " we find ciir, aventur, caintur 
(mod. ceinture), frossm* (modi, fressure), also droitur and escrvp- 
tur both rhyming with mesiire, &c., and moreover {je^jur rhyming 
with the adjective dur, and both with the Latin loqmtnr. 


Ne jjy seJiutoure, ]>y fysycyene. — Sandlyng Synne, v. 1182. 

pyn execufure to haue jjj )?yng. — ih. v. 1182. 

A more curteyse creature || ne cunnyngere of hire age. — Wm, 

of Palerne, v. 406. 
J5e deuil is his executur\\ oi is gold and is tresiire, — Ear. 

Mng. Poems y p. 19. 
Uche cristen creature || knowen hjrmself ouht. — ib. p. 130. 
'S.QT fygure fyn quen I had fonte. — Allit. Poems, i. v. 170; 

Erom the law of formation, then, and from the argument 
that the -e was only sounded when the rhythm required it, 
we infer that in the following final rhymes of the Prologue 
the -e was silent : Tiare, spare (191) ; cheer e, manere (139) ; 
sire, schire (357) ; hyfore, i-hore (369) ; liuyre, myre 
(509) ; desire (in French desir), schire (585) ; hare, hare 
(685) ; mate&re, cheer e (729), &c. &c. 

-age. The following instances illustrate its use in 
]^orman, Anglo-Norman,* and English :, 

E li message descendirent a pied. — Chanson de Roland, y. 120. 
Cum mai'iage ceo serreit mal. — Manuel des PecJdez, v. 1633. 
Car a Mintage grant et peine dure. — ib. v. 2529. 
Encountre son Ihomage ne encountre sa feelte. — Langtoft, 

ii. 220. 
Elfrede j^orgh heritage |1 toke him^the coroune. — Rol). de 

Brunne (ed. Hearne), p. 21. 
Grete tallage laid he )3eron || bi ester and bi weste. — %b. p. 45. 
A message tille hem nam || unto Normundie. — %b. p. 78. 
Hyr vysage whyt as playn yuore. — Allit. Poems, p. 6. 
And fro j^at maryag al other depres. — %b. p. 24. 

Chaucer too has, 

Of hir visage children weren sore aferd. — Sari, v. 630, 
In this liiage shal telle tales tweye. — ih. v. 794. 
Of mamage which ye ban now on honde. — ih. v. 9560. 
Tbis mayde was of age twelf yer and tway. — xb. v. 13445. 

We appear, then, to be justified, by the above instances- 
from Anglo-JSTorman and English writers, in pronouncing 
the following final rhymes of the Prologue, in which the 
rhythm has no stress, without sonant -e: pilgrimage, 
cor age (21) ; visage, usage (109) ; langage, mariage (211) ; 

^ In the "Privilege aux Bretons" we find repeatedly such in- 
stances as the following, which show that the final -e was not 
recognized — " best sauvag " (rhyming with outrage), usag, linag, 
rag^ corag, outrag, eritag, &c. ; also the forms saiivach, domach, 
usach Sind ^rivileg. 


lodemehage, Cartage (405) ; agoy arrerage (603) ; viage, 
pilgi^image (725). 

-ance, -ence. . Lastly, as to -ance, -ence, wliicli may be 
broTiglit under the same general rule, we . find these in- 
stances in Anglo-I^orman texts : 

Mperance li fu done grant. — Manuel des Pechiez, v. 1222. 

Apres ^vm.Q fiance dune. — il). v. 2149. 

A rem&nibrance ^ sun bras ad tuche. — i&. v. 2703. 

Ne fole cuntenanae^ pur changer. — %b. v. 3110, &c. 

Fu par le rai de France || rumpu e refuse. — Langtoft, ii. p. 220. 

Ke la ^parlaunce de pes || se fist pur nul esplait. — ih. p. 276. 

So in the English : 

And pure \>q with ^enaunce tyl |?ou a perle wor]?e. — Allit. 

Poems, p. 71. 
With alle )pQ syence j^at sende l^e souerayn lorde. — ih. p. 81. 
And do penaunce^ for hys folye. — Handlyng Synne, v. 334. 
Whan swyche hohannce forj^e ys wroghte. — ib. v. 993. 
For veniaunce to take veniaunce. — ih. v. 1461. 

The Chaucerian usage appears to conform to the Anglo- 
Norman. In the "Man of Law's Tale" Custaunce loef ore 
a consonant occurs eighteen times, in sixteen of which the 
-e is silent.^ We also find, 

Of indulge^ice so nys it to repreve. — Man of L. T.. 5666. 
For here acgueintaunco was not come of newe. — ib, 6924. 

In spite, then, of ahstinence (7482) ; countenaunce 
(8169), and a few other instances, we are warranted, on 
the strength both of Anglo-l!^orman and ante-Chaucerian 
usage,- in refusing to sound the -e in the final rhymes, i^evei^- 
ence, conscience (141) ; penance, pitance (223) ; agueynt- 
ance, avaunce (245) j governaunce, chevysaunce (283) ; pru- 
dence, sentence (307) ; excellence, reverence (313) ; dispence, 

^ This kind of contraction — rembrance for remtmbrance, 
cuntnatince for cuntenance — ^is by no means uncommon in French 
poetry. In the next page of the poem we have tesmoine for testi- 

^ In the section "Of Penaunce" in "Handlyng Synne," this 
word occurs as a middle word before a consonant ten times, in 
nine of which the -e is silent. 

^ Notwithstanding this fact, Mr Skeat {Specimens of Early 
BngUsJi, pp. 249 — 269) marks the word at the end of a line " Cus- 
tance." It was obviously a dissyllable both by formation and by 


pestilence (443); parchaunce, daunce (4:77) ; suhstaujice, 
suffisance (491), &c. &c. ; more especially as we find 
experiens (5583) ; vengeans (7586) ; pleisauns (8749) ; 
paciens (16312); sentens (17352) ; interpreting experience, 
vengeaunce, pacience, sentence. 

Having thus gained a standing-point for the argument 
that the final -e, as appears from the cases examined, 
was merely an orthoepical device for removing the am- 
biguity that would arise when the accent denoting a long 
syllable, as in A.S., was lost, or, as mpacience for paciens, 
a mere variation of spelling, and a presumption that these 
usages (as Mr Price also believed) were borrowed from the 
practice of the Nornian scribes, to whom similar devices 
in the case of French words were already well known (as 
shown in devis, servis, service, &c.,) we may, without arro- 
gance, assume that the -e in heste (mod. beast), feste^ 
molde, grounde, Jierde, &c., followed the same genei^al law. 
We are therefore justified in silencing the final -e in the 
rhymes from the Prologue, fiftene, Tramassene ; mede, 
reede ; Englentyne, devyne ; Jieede, neede ; mone, sone; 
roote, hoote, &c. ; and, indeed, in all the instances through- 
out the C .T. to which Canon I. (1) refers, excluding for the 
present those in which the -e is presumptively inflexional. 
It will afterwards be shown that these also come' undej 
the same category. 

(2.) Final -e suffixed to a vowel (tonic or atonic) or a dipli- 
tJiong, without the intervention of a consonant, as in 
curtesie, glorie, merie, weye. 

We have next to consider the large class of words, 
mainly furnished by the iN'orman, in which a long vowel 
or diphthong immediately preceded the final -e. If we re- 

^ There is abundance of evidence in English literature gener- 
allj'- (see also the Knight's Tale) that deste Q>wd.feste were mono- 
syllables, and in an Anglo-Norman poem (Pol. Songs, p. 68) we 
accordingly find fest, test, lest, honest, rhyming together. The 
same spelling of test and lest is found in "Le Privilege aux 


gard the -e in the case already considered merely as an in- 
Organic index letter, used to show that the preceding vowel 
was long, we might naturally infer that in cases in which 
a long vowel immediately preceded the final -e without the 
intervention of a consonant, the same rule would apply. 
As, however, some rather important conclusions respecting 
Chaucer's texts, or supposed texts, are thought to depend 
upon the question whether maladie or curtesie,'^ for in* 
stance, were words of three or of four syllables, this case 
will be considered on its own merits. The assumption, 
theai, is that both in early Trench and English, when the 
accented syllable which contained a long vowel or a diph- 
thong was followed by -e, the -e was generally absorbed in 
the long sound which preceded it, just as, in the Greek, 
Ukyi, x^P^) the £, though written, was not sounded. 

The instances to be cited will be taken from Anglo- 
J^orman poems, with the exception of those from ^'La 
Prise de Pampelune," edited by Professor Massafia, from a 
Venetian MS. of the 14th century, a poem which presents 
many variations both from the Paris French and that of 
!N"ormandy. We find the following among other examples : 

Quand Desirier vit Carlle ne sembla mie bricon. — p. 2. 
Li aubres e portier por lour vie mantener.— p. 7. 
Puise sempre portier 9ainte la sxJee^ forbie. — p. 10. 
Adono fu la pels feite e la meslee^ fenie. — p. 11. 

^ The rule of French derivation which required that words 
from the Jjatin should preserve the original accent appears to be 
violated in eurtesie, maladie, &c. Many words of this class were 
not derived directly from Latin at all, but either from Italian 
forms, in which the Latin accent had been already displaced, or 
they were constructed in imitation of such forms. Thus curteste 
resembles, in accent, Italian corteida, and maladie is formed on the 
same model, from malade^ in old French maldhde = Latin male 
a2)tus, indisposed. (See Diez, " Grammatik," ii. 257.) The i there- 
fore in these words is practically treated as long. 

^ Respecting words of this form, such as armee, cont7'ee, 
meslee^ mesnee, &c., it may be observed that they belong to the 
same category as vie, envie, &c., and therefore if " Chaucer" (i. e. 
the Harleian 7334 scribe) considered armee, &c., to be ar-me-e^ he 
unlawfully docked off a syllable by writing them arme, contre, 
meigne, &c. ; and if, on the other hand, " Chaucer " (i. e. the Elles- 
mere and Hengwrt scribes) held them to be trisyllables, he was 


Ne faiz mie dist cellu car isu sui d'enfance. — p. 15. 
E se fiert en la prese des Franzois ireement. — p. 46. 

Commenting on these instances in liis preface, Professor 
Massafia, -while pointing out some exceptions, says, 
" Stummes e nacli einem Yocale fiir keine Sylbe zahlt," 
thus confirming, as regards these instances, the usage no\v^ 
under discussion. ^ 

In an Anglo-JSTorman poem '^ i)e Conflictu Corporis et 
Animse," printed by Wright in the appendix to his edition 
of Walter Mape^'s Latin Poems (Camden Society), "not 
more modern than the beginning of the 13th century," we 
find the following verses, which are the more remarkable 
as being written in long lines in which a word at the pause 
rhymes with one at the end of the yerse, and suggesting 
the inference that as the -e at the sectional pause was cer- 
tainly mute, it must have been also mute at the end of the 

L'ame estoit essue \\ ce me ert vis tote nne. — p. 324. 

Par liel felenie \\ cresseit ta mavmdie. — ib. 

Or as perdu ta vie || e la grant mavantie, — ib. -, 

Ki departet X^preie || ne lor cbaut qui le veie. — p. 325. 

La semence est failUe \\ toute est deehartiUie. — i7). 

Or sui de toi tornee \\ remese est ta pognee, — p. 328, &c. 

The following instances also show the usage : 

La ue7'tue del seint espirit. — Ilaniiel des PecMez, v. 1. 

Creient les uns qe estfoUe grant. — ih. v. 1095, 

Si il oient la pie iangler.— iJ. v. 1096. 

De 11 querez folie par tant. — id. v. 3094. 

De cor\teysie \ soit for ] banys. — Lyrical Poetry, p. 1, 

Desouz I \2ijoie^ \ de p'alrajfs. — ih. p. 4. 

guilty of a "bad rhyme," by making (C. T. 215) he and contree 
rhyme together. As regards armee — the only proper form in Nor- 
man texts — its interpretation (60) as armee (Elles., Heng.)/«7*me 
(Corp., Lans.), and armeye (Pet.), shows that -e was silent. So by 
the above argument the rhyme (55) degree, he (EUes., Heng.) 
must be " bad," for the only form in French is degre. 

^ In the phonetically spelt poem "Le Privilege aux Bretons," 
we have these rhymes, compaigni, chevalerie, mi (for mie^ ; Sainte 
Mari, trecheri. 

^ Joie occurs in these poems not unfrequently as a dissyllable, 
but more generally as represented above. Hence we see why this 
word early received the form in English ioi and joy : e.g. '^ Of al 
j^is ioi jpQv nis non end." — J3ar, Eng, Poems, p. 7 and passim. 


IjSLJoie I que de eux [ descent.-^iJ. p. 8. 
La vi\leynie \ de fem|me dist. — ib, p. 8. 
Marie \ par toun | enfant. — ib. p. 54. 
Par ge\losie \ que ele a. — ib. p. 109. 

The next Anglo-J^ormaii quotations are from De Lang- 
toft's Chronicle, where similar instances are very numerous 
The following may be considered as typical examples : 

Le ray se mette en veye dekes a un rivage. — i. 8. 

Si tost cum cele navye fu venu a ryvage. — i. 50. 

Jo serray par ma vie si De le m'ad grauntez, — i. 116. 

Pur maladie garrir pur playe ben saner. — i. 124. 

Le diik de Normendye^ William le Conquerour. — i. 410. 

Les gens de Normendye^ sua Dover aryvaynt. — ii. 224. 

The English treatment of I^orman words introduced 
into English is in strict accordance with our theory. Early 
English poets almost always treat the -e when preceded by 
a long vowel or diphthong as silent. 

The ]N"orthern scribes generally settle the question of 
final -e in this case by either peremptorily rejecting it even 
in the spelling or rhyming words in -ye with words in -y 
alone.2 Thus in the "Cursor Mundi" (about 1320) we 
find propJieci, progeni, &c., and in the "Metrical Homi- 
lies" (about 1330) we find everywhere Mari, curtaysi, 
mcdstri, foU, &g., and such rhymes as these : 

^ The word Normendye appearing in the Saxon C'hronicle first 
as JVi;r??^^^^^3^, becomes without exception in the later chapters 
Noi^mendi, thus testifying to the fact that the -e was not generally 
sounded, and confuting the assumption of Mr Lowell, that when 
found in the final rhyme it was necessarily Normendi-e. (See 
"My Study Windows," Essay on Chancer^ 

^ The difference generally between the usage of Northern and 
Southern scribes is simply a difference of spelling, not of sound. 
The Northerners were more strictly phonetic in their spelling, and 
hence we find in "Early English Homilies" and " Cursor Mundi" 
such rhymes, passim, as Adam, in blam ; to tali, for mannes salt ; 
ilke a yer, in fair tnaner ; of my 'pouert, in hert ; in the se?'2iis. 
his quaintis ; which in Southern conventional spelling would be 
Adame, blame; tahe, salie ; yere, manere ; pouerte, Jierte ; ser- 
iiise, qnaintise. So the Northumbrian scribes wrote indifierently, 
3fari, Marie ; in Tiel, in helle ; in sin, of her sinne ; wille, wil ; 
fet, feet, fete ; godspel, godspelle ; and numbers of such rhymes as 
masse, rihtwisnes ; drawe, sau ; Baptiste, Crist ; Baptist, Criste ; 
telle, spel ; cuvie, dom. ; gret, bete ; wis, gQ^ise, &c., in which the 
phonetic interprets the conventional spelling. 


Thir wordes says God almiJity 

Thoru the prophet Malachye. — ^p. 9. 

Godd of heuin es ai redi 

For to haf of hem meroie, — ib. p. 16 

Ful god help )7ar {joru hir mercy 

For scho bisoht Crist inrcai'dlie, — ih. p. 32. 

Can we, then, believe that a phonetic -e was added in 
reading the following % 

Forthi hafd God of man mercy e 

That was bigilid thoru envie. — p. 7. 

That man that hers spek of Marie 

Thar haf wanhop of Godes mercie. — ih. p. 16. 

Minot (about 1350) also wrote galay (for JSTor. galeie), 
cumpany (p. 14), Normundy, Mari, and indeed scarcely 
ever sounds the -e at all — certainly not once in fifty times. 

JSTortbern usage, tben, is decidedly against the recogni- 
tion of*^: the sound. Midland is less uniform, but no 
opposing example has been met with in *^ Alliterative 
Poem-s"^ (14th century), while the theory is confirmed by 
the spellings drwry (for druerie)^ g^ory (for glorie), and 
by the rhymes awaye, gaye, jplay (p. 9) ; prayse, un- 
cortoyse, rayse, westernays (p. 10) ; Arrahy, coi^taysye 
(p. 13); haily (for hailie), coy^taysie (p. 14); say e, pray, 
day, fay, aray (p. 15) ; felony e, query (p. 24) ; affray, 
paye (p. 35) ; day, paye. In " Sir Gawayne," by the same 
author, we have also nwe repeatedly spelt mv, also' storie, 
stori, &c., and the rhymes daye, gray, say, way. "We iind 
also in these Alliterative Poems mangerye (p. 39) ; felony e 
(p. 44) ; drwrye (p. 64) ; and many others with the -e 
always silent. 

In "Early English Poems" we find the same usage 
steadily maintained : Marie, crie, curteisie, maistrie, 

^ The writer of these poems was a true artist in verse, who 
dealt skilfully with his materials, and whose taste was under the 
control of a musical ear — an authority therefore among the writers 
of the 14:th century. He seldom recognizes the -e under any cir- 
cumstances as significant. In the first 60 lines of the " Pearl/' for 
instance, we find, excluding the final rhyme, 30 instances of -e 
silent against 3 sounded ; including the final rhyme, 69 instances 
against 3. 

112 THE. USE OF FINAL -<3 

vilanie, lecher ie, fantasie, victorie^ remedie, &c., being 
written as Mari, cri, curteisi, curtesy, maistri, vilani, 
lecheri, mctori^ remedi, &c. The following instances also 
illustrate tlie argument : — 

Of paradis al Jje halye whan him likid to is honde. — p. 13. 
To him J3e devil had envie Jjat he in his stid schold be 

bro^te. — ib. 
purf clergie jjis holi maide resouns makede so quoynte. — id, 

p. 91. 
po Pilatus hadde j^er longe J?e maistrie fur and -nh&v.—ib, 

p. 113. 
Dame mercie qua]? ]?e messager maie |?ulke ymage 03ti — ih. 

p. 115. - 
Now harlotrie for murj^e is holde . — ib, p. 122. 
For envie never mon Jjou chas. — i&. p. 126. 

jN'o instances contradicting these have been found in 
Early English Poems, and we are therefore warranted in 
assuming that in numerous final rhymes, such as rihaudye, 
curtesye, harlotrie, eschuioe^ duioe, suwe, &c., the -e would 
be silent. 

In view of these numerous examples, all appearing, 
without exception, to establish the same principle, we 
can scarcely doubt that -ie, ~ye = -i, -y, that is, that in 
accordance with the well-understood Anglo-N'orman usage 
of the 13th and 14th centuries, words of the form curteisie 
were words of three syllables. A question however has 
been raised involving the authenticity of the^ ^^ Eomaunt of 
the Eose," arising from what are called the " bad rhymes " 
of the scribe of that poem. This charge is founded on the 
discrepancy occasionally observable between the customary 
spelling of certain words found in the " Eomaunt of the 
Eose " and that of most or all of the manuscripts of the 
" Canterbury Tales." In the former poem we find such 
rhymes as 7, mcdadie (1849), curtesie, gladly (2985), gene- 
raly, vilanye, and on the assumption that -ye is a dissyl- 
lable termination they are, of course, as they have been 
declared, on high authority, to be, "bad." If however, 
as is proved by a large preponderance of instances, the -ye 
was = -y, then^ whatever may be said of the spelling, the 


rhymes tliemselves must be pronounced to be good. A 
rhyme is addressed essentially to the ear, not to the eye, 
and cannot with propriety be called " false " or bad because 
the symbols which represent it to the eye are not literally 
identical. If the rhyming combinations cle'arly echo to 
each other, we get a proper ear-rhyme, even if, through 
ignorance, carelessness, caprice, or special notions on the 
part of the scribe, there is no satisfactory eye-rhyme. If 
the ear-rhyme is good he means right, at all events, and 
the rest resolves itself obviously into the vexed question of 
spelling. This explanation of the difficulty in question 
will not, of course, be admitted by those who assume, 
without proving, that the unaccented ~e at the end of a 
verse must always be sounded ; they are, of course, bound 
to maintain that whenever a word lacking the -e rhymes 
with one which has it, the resulting rhyme must be 
faulty. According to the theory, however, of this paper, 
founded on the double argument of formative law or 
analogy and usage, the -e in question ought generally, if 
not always, to be mute, and consequently words with and 
without -e may lawfully rhyme together. Taking, for 
example, the instances collected by Mr Ellis from Wright's 
edition of the "Canterbury Tales" (see "Early English 
Pronunciation," p. 249), in which text, by his judgment, 
*^ the spelling indicates a difference of pronunciation," — ^we 
find, (1.) traGB^ alias (1953) ; solace, alias (9149) ; (2.) here, 
onessager (5142) ; ever, dissevere (12802) j matere^ gramer 
(14946); (3.) hew, newe (8253); may, aye (17105); leye, 
pray, loay (8753), — in which, if the assumption is correct, . 
we certainly have a. collection of "faulty rhymes." Eut 
then that is the very question at issue. Mr Ellis's in- 
valuable book contains no argument to show that solace 
ought to be a word of three syllables, and consequently 
none to show that it could not be a dissyllable and rhyme 
properly with alias. And so with respect to matere, 
gramer ; ^ hew, newe, <fec. On the other hand, the reader is 


referred to the numerous instances recently cited, which 
appear to show conclusively that the -e in these cases was 
generally silent, and consequently that the rhymes in 
question are good. There is a considerable presumption 
too, founded on analogy, that the other " faulty " rhymes 
quoted by Mr Ellis on the same page of his treatise were 
allowable, and therefore allowed. These are Ijorn, tiforne^ 
(1225) ; eeke^ leek (6153) ; potestate, estaat (7594) ; mighte, 
sight (8556); witte, it^ (8303); hert, smerte (10793); 
hoste, wost (11007); gold, olde (15645), and a few others. 
There are reasons even for such rhymes as he, comioanie ; 
joye, the; joye, convey e. 

On the whole, then, it is maintained that rhymes of 
the type curtesie, gladly, found in the " Eomaunt of the 
Rose," were not faulty as regards the rhythm, though they 
appear to represent a fashion of rhyming in use when Chau- 
cer first began to write, rather than that which he adopted 
30 or 40 years later, when he wrote the " Canterbury 
Tales." And this hypothesis confirms the arguments by 
which Professor Ten Brink, in his recently published 
valuable work,^ attempts to show that the " Eomaunt " 
was probably one of Chaucer's earliest works. 

^ The answer, then, founded on the previous investiga- 
tion, to Mr Furnivairs hypothetical inquiry (''Temporary 
Preface to the Six-Text edition of Chaucer," p. 108), " if in 
Chaucer's undoubted works [which text is Chaucer's un- 
doubted work ?] mcd-a-dy-e or cur-tei-si-e is four syllables, 

* The readings of the Six Texts are, horn, hiforn (Elles., Heng., 
Corp., Pet.) ; 'bore, Hfore (Cam.) ; and home, he-forne (Lans.), 
showing hiforn = hifore = he-forne, which we also .frequently 
find as hifor in other texts, to be essentially a dissyllable. So as 
regards eeJie, not a single instance has yet been produced of the 
dissyllabic use of this word. It ought to be, and always is, a mono- 
syllable, and therefore the infinitive seehe, with which it rhymes 
seven times in C, T., was a monosyllable also. 

^ This case, in which a doubled consonant is followed by -e, 
will be subsequently discussed. 

^ Chaucer. Studien zur Geschichte seiner Entwicklung und. zur 
Chronologic seiner Schriften. Von Bernhard Ten Brink. Erster 
Theil. Miinster, 1870. 


liow -y-e 01 -i-By proved by derivation to be a two-syUable 
termination," can rhyme with, -y or the pronoun I? is, (1) 
that -y-e or -i-e is not proved by derivation to be a two-syl- 
lable termination, as no attempt has been made to prove 
this point ; and, (2) that the usage both of Anglo-Norman 
and ante-Chaucerian poets shows that in the 13th and 14th 
centuries words of the form maladye and curteisie were 
generally accounted as trisyllables, and that it was there- 
fore to be expected that Chaucer's usage would be the 
same ; that is, including the whole proposition, not merely 
one case of it, that he would be found illustrating the 
general' principle or formula, Orthographical long vowel 
or diphthong — e = phonetical long vowel or diphthong 
+ e. 

The following instances from Chaucer are in accordance 
with Canon I. (2.) : 

To take oure weye ther as I yow devise. — Harl. v. 34. 
How gret a sorwe suffreth now Arcite. — vb. v. 1221. 
His eyen holwe, grisly to behold. — il. v. 1366. 
He never yit no vilonye ne sayde. — ih. v. 70. 
In curteisie was set ful muchel hir list. — JElles. v. 132. 
For curtesy^ he saj^de, he wolde noon. — Harl. v. 3351. 
That is to seye', that telleth in this caas. — ih. v. 799. 
Schal jpaye for al we spenden by the weye. — il). v. 808. 
The tiraunte, with the pi'eye by force y-raft. — ih. v. 2017. 
Enforce my might thi trewe servant to be. — ib. v. 2237. 
All that he spak it was of heye prudence.-^iZ>. v. 307. 

To seeken hem a chaunterie for soules. — ih. v. 512. 
And in his bost of chevalrie the flour. — ih. v. 984. 
That Emelie^ that fairer was to seene. — ih. v. 1037. 
Nought Wl purgatoriCy but in helle. — ih. v. 1228. 
Of maladie the which he hath endured. — ih. v. 1406. 
Youre malady is for we have to lite. — ih. v. 7545. 

^ We find the same negation of -e in Chaucer's oratory, memory, 
sorcery, haudery, jlatery, gelousy, company, chyvalry, remedy, 
glotony, harlotry, all showing -ye = -y. How is it possible, then, 
to consider memorle, gelosie, &c., as four-syllable words? 

2 So Emelye, 1070; Mniely, 1822, 2819, 2943; but JEmelye, 
1688, 1862, 2334. Other manifest exceptions are trewe, 2420, 
2659 ; praye, 2318 ; carpentry e, 3859 ; compaignie, 4321, 14773 ; 
aspie, 5980 ; glotomje, 13913 (but glotony, 13927) ; Cecilie, 12350 
(but Cecilie, 12203). It is believed, however, that scarcely any 
others can be found. One appears in the Appendix to " Boethius " 
(p. 181) : 

Hadden uofantesie to debate. 


That al this storie tellen more pleyn. — Havl. v. 1466. 

For I defye the seurte, and the bond. — %b. v. 1606. 

An egle tame, as eny lylie whyt. — %b, v. 2180. 

The mynstralcye, the serv^^ce at the feste. — ih. v. 2199. 

The menstralcy and noise that was maked. — id, v. 2526. 

Of no^artye ne cantel of a thing. — ih. v. 3010. 

Ne clepe ne crye but be in his preyere. — iJ). v. 3587. 

O foule lust, O luxurie^ lo thin ende. — ib. v. 5845. 

Iji surgerie ful perilous is the cure. — ih, v. 11426. 

As his Rosarie maketh mencioun. — it, v. 13357. 

Some drope of pitke (Fr. pite) thurgh youre gentilnesse. — 

ih. V. 922. 
Out of his toun SLJournee largely. — ih. v. 2742. 
And he began with right a merie chere. — il). y. 859. 
"What helpeth it to tdrye forth the day. — ?&. v. 2822. 

These instances, in connection witli the previous invest- 
igation, appear to justify us in claiming as under the same 
category the finals in the Prologue : chyvalrye, curtesie 
(45) j Belmarie, Satalie (57) ; cJiivachie, Picardie (85) ; 
herye, merye (207) ; pMlosopMe^ sawtrie (297) ; companye, 
dayesye (333) ; surgery e, astronomy e (415) ; malady e^ drye 
(421) ; weye, seye (469) ; myscarye, mercenarie (515) ; 
dayesie, pultrie (599) ; thre, decree (641) ; money e, tweye 
(705); story e, offertory e (711); curtesie, velanye (727); 
lye, company e (765) ; weye, pleye (773) ; seye, weye (781) ; 
lueie, tweye (783) ; withseie, weye (807) ; seye, loeye (857). 

Before closing this department of the subject, it may be 
observed that the following cases of 4e = y occur in the 
Harleian MS. 7334 : victorie, story (5387) ; qtiirhoily, yvory, 
for yvory e, fetisly (7323), and yvory e (15283); Sir Gy, 
cliivalry, for chivalry e (15307) ; and lustily, vicory, for 
vicorye (17333). And, as bearing on the general argument, 
the following instances should be noted : — to the lond, 
btronde (5281) ; renegat, desolate (5353), also desolat 
(4549) ; fynd, mynde (5546) ; booke, took (4610) ; entente, 
sent (4744); here, messager (5143); curious, house (577); 
tresor, Nehugadonosore (15630); potestate, estaat (7599); 
deed, rede (7619); mede, heed (7622); matere, gramer 
(14946). Will it be said that all these are slips of the 
scribe ? 


To these may be added the following rhymes from 
Haiieian MS. 913, as transcribed in Early English Poems, 
all, be it observed, consistent with our Canons : — teste lest ; 
tak quake ; none ston ; riche ilich ; speck loreclie ; Austin 
fine ; rise cigr is ; was grace; snowe ithro'W ; Lucifer loei'e ; 
forhede red; ArimatMe lionuri ; face loas ; none Ion; 
over-cam name; precJie tech; clere.^ sopper ; gote wot ; 
flure odur ; tlierhi nunnerie ; river stere; danger yere ; 
wote abbot; rnilke silk. To these add from Eobert of 
Gloucester, kynedom come ; com norrie ; lond understonde ; 
lond Jionde; here power, &c., &c. ; and from Shoreham's 
Poems, bost goste ; londe fond ; many our creature ; seet 
ete, &c. 

(3) Final -a suffixed to a doubled consonant or two 
different consonants, preceded by a short vowel, as 

in wltte, reste. 

The next case we have to consider is that of final -e 
preceded by a doubled consonant (as in witte), and the 
question is, whether this formative -e was an organic 
element of the word, or merely a fashion of spelling of no 
phonetic significance, though capable of being made such 
at the will of the poet. 

The phonetic spelling of Orrmin has accustomed us to 
the fact, that in early times a short vowel was indicated by 
doubling the consonant which followed it. Hence we find 
him writing the tonic syllables mann, Ipatt, iss, uss, witt, 
writt, &c. ; and also the atonic in fundenn, vjcerenn, &c. 
In this he merely adopts the usage of A.S., where we. 
find man, mann ; wit, loitt ; hyl, hyll ; syn, synn ; neb, 
nebb ; bed, bedd, &c., in which cases the first consonant', 
was radical, the second orthoepic. When these words 
appear in Early English, we often find them with a suf- 
fixed -e, as loitte, synne, bedde, &c. It is not. to be sup- . 
posed, however, that, contrary to the general principle 
before illustrated, it was intended to make them dissyl- 



lables. The -e was- probably added, (1) to prevent what 
was evidently distasteful to our early English writers, 
the ending of a word in two similar letters ; and, (2) pro- 
bably to imitate the usage adopted in the case of Ipng 
syllables, though not for the same reason. There is, how- 
ever, no more cause to believe that loitte was a dissyllable 
than were icare or "prute, which represented war or ^rut. 
The new form was, from some cause or other, evidently 
more agreeable to the eye, and being received, furnished 
an additional resource to the verse writer, who sometimes, as 
a license, made the final -e phonetic. Orrmin, for instance, 
knew the A.S. words hlis^ hliss ; godnes, godnyss ; drun- 
cenes ; but it suited the rhythm which he adopted to add 
a syllable to each of them, and on the same principle 
to ignore the original accent at will, and he therefore 
writes hlisse, godnesse, drunnTcennesse, treating the words 
respectively as if consisting of two, three, and four 
syllables. But the -e which he suffixed to the form and 
made phonetically significant represented no etymologic 
or grammatical feature. It was simply, (1) a fashion of 
spelling, or (2) a rhythmical license. When convenient 
to him, he ignores his own rule and writes lajnn (though 
exactly analogous to synn) without -e, even when in- 
flexional, as " c?^ kynn ;" so " i flumm,'' &c. ' So in " Early 
English Poems" (Furnivall) we find these rhymes.: Ms, 
hlisse (p. 3) ; hlysse, amys (p. 146) ; a cuntis, i-wisse 
(p. 3); i-ivisse, hlis (p. 15); begin, of sinne (p. 18); icel, 
felle (p. 19) ; ivelle, scliel (ih.) ; as also wel, seliel (ib.) ; 
helle, hel (p. 20) ; while almost all the words with doubled 
consonant + e occur also with a final single consonant. 
Again, in " Alliterative Poems," we find these rb,ymes : clot, 
sjyotte (p. 1) ; not, spotte (p. 2) ; also^of, scliot spot (p. 2); 
spahk, sake, take (p. 28) ; wasse (was), passe, tras (trace), 
mas (masse), (p. 34). Then we find everywhere, before 
Chaucer, wil, will, wille ; wit, icitt, witte ; sTcil, sJcille, used 
interchangeably, and apparently without regard to flex- 


ional use. Thus we see " on worldes blisse" and on the 

same page, " on worldes Mis " (" Anecdota Literaria," 

p. 90). 

The general use of such words is seen in the following 

lines from De Brunne's Chronicle (ed. Hearne) : 

In felawschip ivJienne Jjai sitte samen. — v. 10. 
Of thare dedes salle be my sawe. — ih, v. 21. 
Alle j}Q,t kinde, and alle ^e frute. — ib. v. 31. 
That calle menne now l^e Inglis gent. — ib, v. 38. 
Among Jje bretons with mykelle wo. — ib. v. 53. 
I telle myn Inglis J?e same ways. — ib. v. 63. 
And Pers tellis alle ])Q Inglis dedes.- — ib. v. 66. 
But I here it no manne so say. — ib. v. 100. 
And my witte was ouer thynne 
So strange speche to travayle In. — ib. v. 112, 113. 
And menne besoght me many a tyme. — ib, v. 117. 
For this makyng I wille no mede. — ib, v. 129. 
That alle in metur/wiZ^ wele lys. — ib. v. 195. 

The usage is the same in " Handlyng Synne : " 

In al godenesse l^at may to prow. — v. Q2. 

On englysshe tunge out of f rankys. — ib. v. 78. 

Lytyl or mochel synne we do. — lb. v. 91. 

We synne j^at shal we bye ful soure (sure). — ib. v. 96. 

'EtllQ^forbarre jjey Jje blys of heune. — ib. v. 106. 

Begynne we )?an to telle in hast. — ib. v. 141. 

After these examples we need not hesitate to silence 
the -e in the following final rhymes : 

At J?y wurschyp shall we i 

To shame l^e fende and shew our synne. — ib. v. 3, 4. 

For l^ys ys one Jje most synne 

pat any man may fallyn inne. — ib. v. 159, 160. 

Hit was onys a munke and hade a celle 

In a wyldernes {al. wyldernesse) for to dwelle, — ib, v. 171, 172. 

Sey |70u me be certeyn of alle 

Whejjer y slial or y ne slialle. — ib, v. 225, 226. 

We now proceed to ascertain how far Chaucer's usage 
justifies this Canon. Words of this form — doubled con- 
sonant + e, are very common in his verse. The position 
assumed is, that this spelling was generally conventional, 
not phonetic^ and represented no etymological or gram- 
matical feature. It was a fashion adopted, but not 
uniformly maintained, by Chaucer ; and in most cases we 
find in other authors, antecedent or contemporary, the true 


phonetic spelling of tlie words. Take first the word Jiadde. 
This is frequently liad-de in Chaucer, but is shown to be 
simply = liad, by our finding it so written in the parallel 
texts. In 1488, we find "fortune had broght" (Elles., 
Pet.) ; "fortune hadde'^ (Heng., Cam,, Corp., Lans.). In 
1624, ''had leyd" (Elles., Pet, Lans.); ''liadde leyd" 
(Heng., Cam., Corp.). It occurs, too, almost always a^ had 
in the prose "Boethius" (Morris's ed.), in place of the hadde 
of the later MS. Before Chaucer, had continually occurs 
in ]^orthern and- Midland texts, as Hampole, De Brunne, 
Minot, Syr Gawayne; and also in Southern ^ratings, 
as "Sarmun," "Fifteen Signs," &c., of Harl. MS. 913, 
written, as Mr Furnivall says, before 1300. The spelling 
had is, in these Southern poems, uniform, simply because 
the scribe of this MS. followed his ear and not his eye. 
Indeed, the spellings of this MS. alone, which is noted by 
Dr Sturzen Becker as " pure Southern," of themselves con- 
fute much that has been written oil behalf of sonant versus 
silent -e. We presume, then, that hadde means had in 
Chaucer, except when the rhythmical beat requires had-de. 
So as regards words ending in -oiesse = A.S. -Qiys or -nes ; we 
know that Orrmin always treated -11 esse as nes-se, but there 
is no reason to believe that such words in common use 
were considered as lengthened by a syllable. Chaucer 
writes in the prose "Boethius," derkenes, hisines, sekenes, 
foolhardines. So in words ending in the French -esse, he 
writes in " C. T." goddes, soudanes, ryches ; smd ^odesse, 
gesse (1101), is in Lans. MB. godes, ges. We may, then, 
presume that the final rhymes hethenesse, worthinesse (49) ; 
gesse, presse (82); gesse, prior esse (117), &c., were pho- 
netically equivalent to hefhenes, loorthines, &c. Similarly 
4te =^ 4, as is shown by the identical use of ivit, witt, and 
luitte ; also by y-sette, mette (1635), which are so spelt only 
i^ Pet., Lans. — the words being in the other four MSS. 
y-set, met, — and by loritte, itte, Corp., Pet., Lans. (738), 
which are lorif, it, in Elles., Heng., Camb., Harl., 7334. 


So setf sett, sette, all apjDear in the various readings of 740. 
It would be easy — ^but it is needless — to show that -nne =: 
-??/, as in pynne =: pyn, synne = syn, inne = in ; also that 
"Tie ■=. -I, as lielle = liel, dwelle ;= dwel, telle rz: tel^ wille 
= loil, in Harl. 913, and the Chaucer MSS. generally. 
On these grounds, then, as all agreeing with the 4th 
Canon, we demand silence for -e in the following final 
rhymes of the Prologue :- sonne, i-ronne ^ (7) j i-falle, alle 
(25); inne, heginne^ (^1); werre, ferre (47); liethenesse, 
loorthinesse (49) ; ivonne, hygonjie (51) ; gesse, presse (82) ; 
gesse, prior esse (117); witJialle, falle^ (127); chynne, 
pynne (196, Corp., Pet., Lans.), which is cliyn^ pyn (EUes., 
Heng., Camb. ; and pyn, mid-verse 10630) ; presse, ivan- 
tounnesse (265) ; Orewelle, selle (279) ; bisette, dette (281) ; 
to wy7me, to heginne (429) ; liappe, cappe (587) ; hadde, 
hladde^ (619); I telle, BaJdestvelle (621); slUq fulle, pulle 
(653) ; liadde, overspradde (679) ; cappe, lappe (687) ; 
Belle, to telle (721) ; loithalle, lialle (753) ; hi f alle, alle 
(798) ; tioynne, hygynne (837) ; p)'^^oresse, schamfasfnesse 
(841), and many others ; to which may be added from the 

^ It is assumepl for the present that the apparentlj^ flexional -e, 
like the formative, is simply orthographic. The question is whether 
in the rhyme sonne, i-ronne, the former word, which was evidently 
sun or son before Chaucer (see "bri^ter J^an }pQ sun,'' "E. Eng. 
Poems," p. 6; "Wiclif's Apology," "li^t and sun of the world," 
p. 55), and which ought, by our tlieoiy, to be = son, or sun, 
dictates silence to the final -e of i-ronne, or whether the presumed 
flexional -e of this word converts sonne = son into son-ne. This 
question must be discussed hereafter ; in the mean time, however, 
the fact that forloren becomes forlorn, forlor^ forlore (just as 
Viforan, hiforen, hiforn, hifor, hifore), throws some doubt over the 
often repeated assertion, that the -e of i-ronne must be sounded 
because it is part of the inflexion. 

^ Cf. " Ferst at prude i wol he-gin, 

for hit is heuid of al sinne ; " 
and the quotation from " Handlyng Synne " (sujpra, p. 119). 

^ WitJialle is frequently written witlial, which ("Ear. Eng. 
. Poems," p. 9) rhymes with infinitive hefal : 

]}Q fifte tokning j^at sal le-fal 

Wei sone hi sal quake wi\> al, 
^ Bladde = A.S. hlced. The spelling is merely conformed to 
that of hadde = liad^ hladde therefore = hlad. 


"Knight's Tale/' goddesse, gesse (1101), (cf. godes, ges, 
Lans.) j to telle, in helle (1199), (cf. infin. tel, helle, 
rhyming with to dwel, Harl. 913); liadde, ladde (1445); 
i-sette, mette (1635) ; joxufille, wille ; thilcTce, wiJcke (1578), 
(cf. thyk, prik) ; on the ivalle, corajle (1909), (cf. on the 
wal, 1934, 1975); ladde, hadde (2275), (cf. ''lad him 
bi-for Pilate," "Fall and Passion," 64); to telle, they 
dwelle (2813). 


The last point for examination is obviously suggested 
by the assumption inherent in our theory, that grammatical 
inflexions were subordinated to orthbepical considerations, 
and that many of the final e's, which look like inflexional 
syllables, were simply features of the conventional spelling 
of the time. We therefore lay down the following pro- 
position to be illustrated by reference to the usage of Early 
English : 

In the English of the 14th century the law of phonetic 
economy had generally prevailed over and set aside 
all other laws, so that the orthographic or orthoepic 
use of -e had, for the most part, superseded its 
former dynamical or grammatical use. 

What is maintained, then, is that in spoken English 
the so-called inflexional -e was no longer pronounced, and 
therefore that, although in written English it still per- 
sisted, as formerly, its dynamical function had ceased, 
being merged in that — whatever it was — which it exercised 
as a conventional adjunct of the spelling; that although 
it looked the same it was no longer the same, having 
become virtually reduced to the same category^ as the 
so-called formative -e, which, as has been shown, was no 
longer an organic feature of the word. It follows, as a 
consequence from this position, that words ending in the 


so-called inflexional -e are to be pronounced (except by- 
poetical license) in accordance with the Canons already- 
laid down ; and therefore that roote in " to the roote,^^ presse 
in '*in ;presse^^ gesse in "I gesse^^ ryde in *'he cowde 
ryde^^ fedde in " sche fedde^^ &c., are = rot^ pres, ges, 
7yd, fed, &c. It is not pretended that there were no 
exceptions to the rule here laid down, but its general 
strictness is strongly maintained, as will be evident from 
the instances now to be produced. The scribes generally 
adopted the current orthography; but sometimes a man 
was found who wrote down — not always uniformly, but, 
as a rule, the sounds that he heard. Such a scribe was 
the writer of the MS. Harl. 913; and in the "Early 
English Poems," " A Sarmun," " xv. Signa ante indicium," 
" The Eall and Passion," " The ten Commandments," 
"Fragment on the Seven Sins," "Christ on the Cross," 
"A rhyme-beginning Fragment," as well as in pp, 156 — 
161, "The Lord of Cokaygne," we see the usage of an 
unconventional writer of the 13th century in the Southern 

The cases will be considered separately, (i.) The -e of 
the dative case.^— The scribe of the Harleian MS. 913 
writes "of this Nf' (p. 1); but, "Hue is lore" (p. 5); 
and "fram de]) to Hue" (p. 15); "wijj drif' (p. ^) ; "of 
such a sip" (ih.) ; "in ure hert" (ib.) [never herte] ; "to 
pere de])" (p. 3) ; "of land" (ib.) ; "in ])oi^t'' (p. 4) ; "of 
heue7i" (ik); "for sop" {p. 5); "to met" (ib.) ; "of all 
pis ioi" (7) ; " wif in fe moder tvom" (p. 8) ; "for man-is 
sin" (ib.) ; "for d^^ed" (p. 9); "wijj hur mund" (ib.) ; 
"of ston" (p. 10); "inerj?" (ib.) ; "ful of angus" (ib.) ; 
"in to J)e stid" (p. 11); "to his owni plas" (ib.) ; "in 
steuen" (ib.) ; "in uois" (ib.) ; " in hel" (p. 12), &c. ; also 
in "Lord of Cokaygne," from the same MS. — "of wel" 
"of godnis" (v. 4); "in paradis" (v. 9); "wi|?-ute 

* " I suspect that this dative had become obsolete before th© 
time of Chaucer." — Guest, i. 30. 


sioinh'' (v. 18); "of met no cloy {y. 29); "in led'' (v. 
38); ''oi melh'' (v. 46); "oi flels'' (v. 55); "of swet 
odur'' (v. 76); "of haum'* (v. 85), &c. It is also notice- 
able that when, in mid-Yerse, he writes (" A Sarmnn ") the 
-e, it is not sounded. 

And in to dusfe Ave schuUe]? wende. — p. 1. 
0|7ir of \>i Telle {^at is wijj-oute. — p. 2. 
Wormis of \i fleisse schal spring.— i&. 
In to Jje hlisse jjat is an hei. — p, 3. 
Of al JjI time fram -^er to jere.' — ib. 

Of ioi and pine to mani man. — p. 4, ifec, with some few ex- 

(ii.) The -Q of the plural adjective. — ^We see in this 
writer's poems " that helplich " (pL), &c. (p. 1), " )>e dede be 
so lolich " {ih.) ; "we — mek of mode " (p. 7) ; " 2^^ fair and 
bri^te as jjou seest hem " (p. 8) ; also " we a^t be ware,'' rh. 
w. Ipar (there), a word universally one syllable; "rivers 
gret and fi7ie" ("L. of Cok.," v. 95); "gees al hote, al 
hot" (iK V. 104); "the monkes hei:^ of mode" {ib, v. 
124) ; ^^lordinges gode and hend" {ih, v. 183). 

So Wiclif has "wan fei are wel good;" "a few 
seek ; " "to wisit J?e seh; " "to be mek" (pL), &c. In the 
Northern " Metrical Homilies," " gret fises,'* " stanes gret" 
^'wod men," ^'quek men," '^ ded men," are constant. The 
apparent exceptions in all these instances, are merely 
orthoepical, not grammatical. 

(iii.) The definite -e. — ^We find " fe loiked wede " 
(p. 2); "fat ilk dai" (p. 9); "fe eii^t dai" (p. 10); but 
"fe sixte dai" and "fe ^^/fe dai" (p. 10); "is swet 
grace" (p. \2) y^'\Q swet fing" (p. 14); ^'^aiswet bodi" 
{ih,)', "])e \rid dai" (p. 15) ; also "|jro3 prier of ure stoete 

^ In p. 19, "Fragment on the Seven Sins," we have, "be gon'''' 
(Chaucer's goKne\ rhyming with sclione •=. scJioon ; also "in is 
end,'''^ rhyming with "he sal wend'''' (cf. Chaucer's "from ende^'' 
rhyming with " they wende "). 

It may also be noticed that our scribe not unfreqnently wa-ites 
at the end of a line, or before a vowel in the middle, words with -e, 
which his constant practice shows to have the -e silent, as above, 
where 'x^sre rhymes with liere^ a word universally of one syllable. 


leuedi" (p. 7) j and " wliate mai ich. hi fe 7ic7ie man telle ^' 
(p. 3), wliere the -e is silent; " j?e 3z^?2^ nnnnes " ("L. of 
Qok," V. 152) j "J?e 3^^^ monkes" {ib, v. 159). 

So Wiclif " in f e frid maner " (also " Jje fridde "), " fe 
fourt/' "Jje secound," &c. The I^orthern instances, in 
" Metrical Homilies." are almost uniformly without the -e / 
''the first day," "the tother day," "the fift day," "the 
tend day;" and when "the ferthe day," "the sexte day," 
&c., occur, the -e is apparently added for the rhythm,, not 
for the grammar. 

(iv.) The -e of the infinitive and gerundial infinitive, 
—The following instances are significant : 

Whan al is pride sal turne to no^te. — Ear, Erig. Poems, p^ 2. 
And to \>e deuil hi sal wend, rhyming with sjpened (error for 

sjyend). — p. 3. 
And helle sal heme j^ou salt ise. — p. 4. 
No for no hungir he no sal liar. — p. 6. 
Angles sul q^iiake so sei]? ]>q boke. — p. 10. 
per nis no tunge l^at hit mai tel. — p. 6. 
An ]3Q sinful folk to tech (rhyming with preche). — p. 15. 
And l^at he me let so wel to speh (rhyming with to hreli). — 

p. 18. 
What is j?e gode j^at he sal hah, 
A wikid wede whi sold i gah, — p. 5. 

pat ne sal adun to-falle (rhyming with salle = ml), — p. 10. 
As heuen and er|7e sold to fal. — ^p. 11. 
Wijj duble pine ^er in to divel (rhyming with helle). — ^p. 12. 

So Wiclif everywhere, in hundreds of instances, and 
also "Metrical Homilies." 

(v.) The -e of the incest particijple : 

pat were i-falle for prude an hore 

to fille hur stides j^at were ilor. — p. 13. 

hi mad hot J^at appil i-'^ette (rhj'^ming with je i-wif).' — ih. 

pat bi no man l^at was y-cor (rhyming wWafor-lor). — ^p* 1^. 

A litil pride was him in-com 

per-for god him havi)? he-nome.—y, 18. 

pat ne mai in him slepe cn/m 

lest is mukke be him he-nome. — p. 19. 

The loss of the participial -e, either in the spelling or 
the rhythm, is very general. 

A poem in "Bitson's Songs," p. 38, taken from the 


same MS., Harl. 913, confirms all the above usages. It is 
on the exploits of Sir Piers de Birmingham : 

A thousand ^er hit isse = is 

Thre hundred ful i-wisse = i-wis (A.S. gcwis). — p. 38. 

Ful wel ye witte his nam 

Sir pers \q Birmingham. — ib, p. 39. 

Of slep he wold hem wall 

For ferdnis he wold qnah — ih. p. 41. 

Alas what ssold hi ihor 

pro^ ham J^is lond is ilor. — ih. p. 42. 

He ]?o^t ordres to mak 

What time he mi^t ham taJi. — ib. 

Si)? hoodis he let mak 

Noht on nas for sah, — ih, p. 43 

Subsequently, nam, wdk, qudk, mak, sale, &c., were 
written with suffixed -e, but there is no reason to suspect 
any alteration in the sound. 

" Wiclifs Apology " (Camden Society) also remarkably 
confirms all the usages already illustrated. Instances are 
found bestrewn on nearly every page : " of myn entent ne 
pwyos" (p. 1); "to perpetual ^el of soule" ('tb.) ; "in 
3er])" (p. 4); ''of peijn" (p. 5); "in fe sted of Crist" 
(p. 6) ; also " in Jje 7iame " (p. 7) ; " for hel of soul " 
(p. 8); "in J?is caas'' (ib.) ; "in wiW (p. 11); "in fe 
nam of Crist" (p. 13); "to ivari^' (^b.) ; "mai not bles'' 
(p. 17); "to tak'' (ib.) ; "be dom" (p. 18); "on his 
sijd" (ib.) ; "to leef " (believe) (p. 20) ; " in so]??ie6- " (p. 27) ; 
"a few seek'' (sick) (p. 28); "to wisit fe sek" (p. 30); 
" of prest " (ib.) ; " in Jje fourt book " (p. 31) ; " of J?e syn " 
(p. 32); "of ilk man mai predi" {ib.) ] "of ])in hond'^ 
(p. 33); "may mak'' (ih) ; "of lif" (p. 34) ; "to cum in 
to bits" (p. 35); "in prid" (p. 36); "al riches" {^. 42); 
"to be mek," pi. (ib.) ; "of fis bred" (p. 46); "in pis 
ston" (p. 56); "in hoUnes" (p. 59); "to e;^ecz^?^" (p. 61); 
" mai no man blam " (p. 62) ; " out of sin " (p. 66), &c., &c. 

The rhyme-beginning fragment in Harl. 913 illustrates 
and confirms the doctrine here maintained, and shows that 
sin7ie = sin, winne :=. loin, and inne == in. 


Loue hauij? me bro^t in lij^ir \jo:^t, 

port ic ab to Mmne ; 

hlinne to pench hit is for no:^t ; 

Nort is loue of sitme. 

Sinne me haui]? in care ihi'o^t, 

bro^t in mochil Vin-winne, 

winne to weld ic had i-\>o:^t 

po^t is l^at ic am inne. 

In me is care, how i ssal far^ &c. 

It appears from these instances, taken altogether, that 
in the 13th and 14th centuries — 

(1.) The -e of the dative was often omitted, and where 
written, generally silent. 

(2.) The -e of the plural of adjectives was often, if not 
generally, silent. 

(3.) The -e of the definite adjective, though often 
neglected, was frequently sounded. 

(4.) The -e of the infinitive and past participle was 
very generally silent. 

It is therefore maintained that much of what has been 
written on Chaucer's strictness of versification, as founded 
on grammatical accuracy, or supposed accuracy, is beside 
the purpose, inasmuch as in securing rhythmical uniformity, 
he very generally ignored the grammatical value of the in- 
flexions. The only point which he almost uniformly 
maintains is the definite -e. J^early all others gave way 
before the laws of the verse. 

On this assumption it is now proposed to examine some 
of Chaucer's usages, especially those which are typical and 

(i.) The -e of the dative case. — Instances : ^Ho the 
roote^^ (2); "from every schires ende^' (l^)i "whan the 
Sonne was to reste " (30) ; " in his lordes werre " (47) ; " in 
hethenesse" (49); "in space" (86); "of grene'' (103); 
" of spere " (114) ; " atte Boive " (125). With these com- 
pare " with his swete hreeth " (4), in five of the MSS. ; " in 
every holte and heeth^' (5), in the same MSS., and holt 
in three, "of his port'' (69, 138); "in hope," with -e 
mute (88) - " in his hond " (108) ; " atte hond " (193) ; " of 


a lond'' (194) ; "uppon hire hresV' (130) ; "in hire nose,'' 
with_-e mute (123); "of court'' (140); '' v^iih. fleissh or 
mylk or wastel breed " in four MSS., hrede in the remain- 
ing three. 

roote = root. (Canon I. 1.) By analogy of " of ston/^ 
"forsoth," "of met'" (p. 123), and Wiclif's "inro^^of resoun" 
("Apology," p. 91), roote may be = root. The nom. roote^ 
found V. 425, rhyming with hoote = A.S. hot, shows that 
the -e in " to the roote " need not be inflexional. Nor does 
the rhyme decide the question, since swoote (see mf7^d) may 
be = swoot. 

ende = end. (Canon 11.) In "A Sarmun" we have 
nom. ende, rhyming with infinitive wende. This writer, 
however, regularly rejects the infin. -e, as Wiclif does, and 
uses infin. wend twice in the same poem, and therefore by 
wende means wend. This is shown by "to ^ur e7id," 
rhyming with "he sal wend;" and in another poem of 
the same MSS., " in is end," rhyming with " he sal wend." 

reste = rest. (Canon II.) Cf. "and doth his likam 
al to rest," rhyming with hesi (adv.). Lord of Gohaygne, 
V. 174. 

werre = wer. Cf Canon II., and note thsitferre with 
which it rhymes often = fer. See v. 3395. 

hethenesse = hethenes. (Canon II.) Cbaucer*s own 
usage, besides the general analogy, seen in " with al the 
lustynes" (194l); "of worthines" (2594); "by his den- 
nesse" with -e mute (508), supports this assumption. He 
generally spells such words with -esse, but means ^es. So 
that in " by fairnesse " (521); "with holinesse" (9582); 
"of seeknesse" (1258); he means no more than Wiclif's 
"in solpnes," "in liolines." It is believed that not one 
instance can be adduced in which the final -e of -esse is 
unquestionably inflexional. This remark also applies to 
the fern. -esse. Chaucer uses goddes, goddesse, soudanes, 
soudanesse, &c., indifferently. The -esse is merely a fashion 
of spelling -es, sometimes emplo^^ed by Chaucer and others 

I:N^ early ENGLISH. 129 

^ before a vowel^ or at the end of a verse. See " Boethius '* 
for hundreds of instances. 

space = spaas. (Canon I. 1.) Chaucer's own usage 
of gras for grace (15242) ; prefas ioi: ;preface (12199) 3 faas 
for face, shows that the conventional sjpace = phonetic 

spere = speer. (Canon I. 1.) The -e in daggere, with 
which it rhymes, is certainly neither organic nor in- 
flexional, for it is the ace. case. The accent is displaced 
to accommodate the termination to the final rhyme, and 
an orthoepic -e added to make it long. The same ex- 
pedient is employed to make miller into miUere {^4c2), 
but neither of these expedients seems to have anything to 
do with grammar. 

(ii.) The -e of the plural adjective. — Instances: "schowres 
swoofe^^ (1); "they were seeTce" (18) ; "floures, white and 
reede" (90); "sleeves long and w]/de'' (93); "with 
fetheresZot^e" (103). 

swoote = swoot. (Canon I. 1.) The usage of all the 
dialects (see p. 124) and the argument founded on roote 
justify the silence of the plural -e, though when required 
by the metre, as in " smale fowles," " straunge strondes," 
it was sounded. 

reede =^ reed. (Canon I. 1.) The same arguments 
apply here, and as mede (A.S. ma^d), with which it rhymes, 
was certainly a monosyllable, the -e being merely an index- 
letter, there is little doubt that reede was = reed. 

seeke = seek. (Canon I. 1.) The -e here does per- 
haps represent the plural, but whether it was sounded 
depends (1) on Canon I. 1 ; (2) on the -e in " to seeke," 
with which it rhymes (see p. 131) ; and (3) on the usage 
of Harl. 913, and Wiclifs "a few seeh;' "to wisit fe seh;' 
" to be mek'^ (pi.). The inference is that seelce = seek. 

wyde = wyd. (Canon I. 1.) In the same category 
as seehe. 

lowe = low. (Canon I. 2.) By the same Canon, howe 


with which it rhymes, = bow. The -e is orthoepic^ not 

(iii.) The -e of the defijiite adjective. — Instances: ''his 
swete breeth" (5); "the yonge sonne" (7); "his halfe 
cours" (8); "this ilke monk" (175); "his owne cost" 
(213), &c. 

It has already been stated that this grammatical usage 
is the only one that Chaucer almost uniformly preserves. 
In presence, however, of "fat ilh dai," "is swet grace," 
" fe swet ])ing," " fat swet bodi," " fe \>rid dai," " the fift,'' 
&c. (p. 124), it is doubtful whether it was not often in 
Chaucer a rhythmical rather than a grammatical feature. 
With regard to owne, the remark may be made that such 
combinations as -Ze, -ne, -re, in tem/ple, owne, tendre, and per- 
haps more,. are often to be considered as transpositions, and 
to be pronounced -el, -en, -er, as separate syllables, as temj^el^ 
owen, tender, moer. The instances, " fi slak skyn," " yilk 
dee]?," "in Jje neperest hem," "in fe hey^est bordure," 
"fis seek man," " jje utterest corner," "for fe greet wey3t," 
in " Boethius," are consistent with Wiclif 's spellings. The 
usage is not uniform, for we also find "fe selve heven," 
" fe rede sunne," " J?e smojpe water," &c. The general 
analogy, however, would lead us to consider the -e silent in 
these cases. 

On the whole, then, we conclude, that in ordinary 
speech the definite -e was no longer pronounced, though 
we see that Chaucer in his verse frequently uses it as a help 
to the metre. 

(iv.) The -e of the infinitive and gerundial infinitive, — 
Instances: "to seeTce^^ (l'^)j *'erly to aryse^^ (^3)^^ '^wol 
T first hygynne^^ (^1) j "wel cowde he sitte^^ {^^)\ ^^wel 
cowde h^Qdresse'' (106) ; "leet . . pace " (175) ; " topovjve " 
(185) ; "he dorste make " (227) ; " men moote yeve silver " 
(EUesL. 232); "for to yive faire wyfes" (234); "to have 
with sike lazars acqueyntaunce " (245); "wold he teche^^ 


seeke =^ seek. (Canon T. 1.) The full form of seeke is 
seken, as of 7naJce is mciJcen, and such forms, obsolescent in 
Chaucer's time, are occasionally adopted by him to help the 
verse. These infinitive forms in -e are usually explained as 
abbreviations to the eye, in which, however, the sound of 
the -e, representing, it is said, the -en, was still preserved. 
It is suggested, however, that the case admits of a different 
explanation. We know that words like sehen, mahen, &c., 
were very commonly pronounced in verse as sekn, mdkn, 
and that the -n was afterwards rejected, leaving seh, mdk. 
The Harl. 913 and also Wiclif s "Apology" show us these 
forms, almost without exception, as (see p. 125) sjjeic, 
hrek, talk, ivalk, mcik, let, &c. But by orthoepic law (see 
Canon I. 1.) these words might be, and were, written 
spelte, tn^eke, fake, wake, make, &c., while the sound re- 
mained the same. We infer, then, that as seken = sekn = 
sek == seke, and also poi^en = loorn = por = pore, the 
-e in oryse, pace (= paas), yeve, is inorganic and silent, 
except under rhythmical stress in verse. 

byginne = bygin. (Canon II.) This word, sitte, and 
dresse, are in the same category. Biginnen = theoretic 
higlnnn = Mgmn, which, by the fashion of spelling a short 
syllable explained before, = hlginne, in which word it is 
submitted the final -ne is orthoepic, not grammatical. So 
sitten = sittn = sitt = sitte. French dresser would give, in 
making it English, dress, but as the fashion was to add -e, it 
becomes dresse. Have really comes under this head. A.S. 
lidbban became liabhen ■= liabbn = Jiahh = hah (the form in 
Harl. 913) = hahbe. Hah appears, however, to have been 
softened to liav, and with the vowel lengthened became 
have. The rhymes confirm the argument. Seeke rhymes 
identically with seeke, both being shown to be monosyl- 
lables. Arise rhymes with I devise, where -e appears to 
represent the inflexion. At this time, however, the -e of 
the 1st person was very generally disused, or if retained in 
spelling, not sounded. Inne, which rhymes with hygynne, is, 

,135 -THE USE OF PINAL -6 

phonetically, tlie same word as in, tlie only difference 
being that inne, according to the fashion, was more usually 
placed at the end of a line. (See " Khyme-beginning Frag- 
ment," p. 127.) Teclie rhymes with specJie, which by 
Canon I. 1. must = spech. See also '' to tecli^^ rhyming 
with '^preclie,'' p. 125. 

(v.) The -e of the past ^participle of strong verts, — 
Instances : '' i-ronne " (8) ; " i-falle " (25) ; " it was iconne " 
(51); '^hadde hj/gonne" (52); "to hirQ unJmowe" (126); 
"sche was not undurgrowe^^ (1^6) i "li^ hadde sunge'' 
(267); ''i-hore'' (380); "had he y-draioe'' (398); 
"hadde his bird ben scltake " (408), &c. 

i-rdnne = i-rpn. (Canon II.) By the process already 
suggested in relation to the infinitive, i-ronnen, after 
throwing off the last syllable to avoid the unpronounceable 
combination -nnn becomes ironn = by Canon II. to i-ronrie 
= i-7*on. So hygon^ien becomes hygonn = hygonne = 
hygou (cf. in " Boethius " he hadde Vygon), and similarly 
ivonnen = iconn = wonne = toon. ■ In the same way we 
see that the noun su7i or son of Harl. 913 is sonne in 
Chaucer, which may under metrical exigency be son-ne, as 
in 30, but at the end of a line, where not required to be 
two syllables, = son. 

i-falle = i-fal. (Canon II.) Fallen = falln ='fall 
= fill, as we see, p. 125, where ifalle occurs as a dis- 
syllable. Alle, also with which it rhymes here, though 
plural, frequently = aZ, as in 929. 

unknowe = unknow. By Canon I. 2. -owe = -ow, 
but also because hnowen = known = know = knoice. So 
Bowe = Boio = Bowe. 

i-bore = i-bor. (Canon I. 1.) I-horen = i-horn = 
i-hor = i-hore. Bifore, with which it rhymes, is formed 
in the ^ame way; hiforen = hiforn {beforn rhyming with 
i-sJiorn, 590) = hifor = hifore, a word which, it is be- 
lieved, is not found as a trisyllable in any English author. 
Similarly, i-loren = i-lor (see p. 125) = i-lore ; fori or en 


= forlor, and i-coren = i-cor. The rliyiaes i-core7i, 
i-loreriy occur in **Castel off Love" (203-4), and also 
for-lore^ \er-foTe^ the last word being, it is believed, no- 
where fonnd as a trisyllable.^ 

schake = schak. (Canon I. 1.) Schahen = scliakn 
== scJiak =z scJiake, which rhymes with undertake (gerund, 
inf.), which by analogy = undertdh (p. 125). Similarly, 
mahed = mdkd = mad, maad (found everywhere in 
Wiclif and " Boethius ") = made. 

(vii) The -e of the past tense of weak verhs. In 
" Boethius " we everywhere find such instances as favored, 
auaurded, recorded, constreyned, semed, touched, jperced, 
glowed, &c., to all of which the editor has needlessly 
added an -e in brackets. These instances represent the 
usage of Wiclif (except that he generally writes id for 
ed), and, doubtless, also represented the pronunciation of 
the time. We venture, then, to suggest that lovede =. 
loved (45), and wypude = wypud, especially as we also 
find ivered, drowpud (for drowpuden), &c., and loved, as 
the reading in four out of the seven MSS. in 166, and to 
doubt whether these words were pronounced lovde, 
loypde, &c., as Mr Ellis ^ and Dr Morris direct. These 
spellings in -ede seem indeed to be a novelty of the latter 
end of the 14th century.'' Langland and Chaucer have them, 
but they are not to be found, it is believed, in the 
Castel off Love, Minot, or William of Palerne, &c. These 
authors always write chaunged, entred, gayned, chased, 
woned, howed, &c. The logical inference, therefore, is 
that Langland's leonede, lohede, slumherede, sownede ==, 

* The only instance in Chaucer given by Child is — 

As was Grisild, therefore, Petrark writeth (9023) 
which we venture to consider as an instance of division into two 
independent sections (see p. 91), and to scan thus : 

As was I Grrisild || ther|fore Peltrark writeth || (writ'th). 
It is not possible to believe that Chaucer, who often wrote the 
word therfor, intended to make the -e a syllable. 

^ Mr Ellis has since (Early Eng. Pron., p. 647) recalled this 
instruction and adopted -ede =r 'ed\ 


leoned, loked, &c., and that Cliaucers usage was the 

The last point for consideration is one which has been 
thought by some to be decisive of the question of Chaucer's 
final -e (see Gesenius, Ellis, &c.), inasmuch as in the 
instances cited, the -e in such words as sotlie, prime^ &c., 
is, for the nonce, undoubtedly sounded. Our position 
with regard to them is that they are exceptional, and in 
no respect representative. The instances are such as these 
(see Early English Pronunciation, p. 318): "from the 
court of Rome. Come — to me " (3699) ; " my swete 
cijnamome — speketh to me" (3699); "I schal say the 
sothe — let me talk to the'' (12590); *' considering then 
ToutJie — lalouethe'' (10987); ''and that as sivithe — go 
forth thy way and hj the'' (13222), &c. 

That in the course of 17,000 lines only seven such 
instances can be found is surely a remarkable case of 
exceptions that prove the rule. Had they been anything 
but exceptions we might have expected to find hundreds 
of such instances. The words sothe and youthe are original 
monosyllables made for the nonce into dissyllables, in which 
the -e is phonetic, not organic. Even as an oblique case 
soth is constantly, almost uniformly, written without -e in 
the phrase forsoth. The rhymes in question, therefore, are 
forced and exceptional, and may be properly characterized 
by Quicherat's epithet (see next page) as " tres mauvaises." 
However this may be, they prove nothing as to Chaucer's 
usage as to final -e, which is the point in question. They 

* It is probable that in the numerous instances in Tyrwhitt's 
text in which the 3rd pers. sing, of the pret. tense is'written with 
'Bf as hare, swore, stale, spake, rose, smote, tohe, &c. (see the 
Keeve's Tale), the scribe intended a phonetic rather than a 
grammatical form, and does not deserve, nor the editor for him, 
the severe censures passed upon Tyrwhitt by Wright, who charges 
him with not knowing the singular from the plural form (see 
Preface to Wright's edition of the Canterbury Tales), and generally 
" with entire ignorance of the grammar of the language of 
Chaucer." Tyrwhitt, probably, did not know everything, but he 
gave us much for which he deserves praise rather than the vituper- 
ation with which it is now the fashion to load him. 


ojaly prove that in seven instances of final rhymes -e was 
certainly sounded, and they are the only ones in the whole 
poem that prove this, and they leave untouched aU the 
arguments for its silence in thousands of others, as well 
as for the monosyllabic individuality of sotlie^ youtlie, 
time, &c. 

to these may be added from " King Horn," " nu is f e 
time — to sitte hi me" (532); from Syr Gawayne, ^' sca^e, 
wape, ta pe" (take to thee), (2356); and a few also in Gower 
and Occleve. Very rarely this license is found in old 
French, as "la fleur de la ronce — ^li meurtrier Imron ce," 
quoted from Gautier de Coinsy, by Dumeril, and also 
^^ en ce — commence ; appr ins ce — le prince; querelle — 
^uerez-le^^ which Quicherat, who quotes them ("Versification 
fran9aise," p. 415), characterizes as "tres mauvaises rimes." 


The main object of this paper has been to prove that 
the -e of the final rhyme in the Canterbury Tales is not to 
be sou;ttded. This point, however, involves the whole 
question of the true meaning of the -e everywhere. The 
first argument employed was founded on the nature of 
the versification, and it was presumed that as the -e was 
silent at the lesser or sectional pause in the middle of the 
verse, it was a fortiori silent at the greater pause occurring 
at the end of the line, especially as the -e, forming an 
additional syllable, was superfluous in a decasyllabic verse. 
As, however, this assumption is in opposition to the theory 
that the -e, whether formative or inflexional, was an 
organic element of the word, and therefore an essential 
factor of the verse, it was necessary to show that from the 
time of the introduction of the I^orman speech into Eng- 
land, and as a consequence of the influence .of the I^orman 
scribes, the originally formative or inflexional -e, though 
still retained in written English, had lost its dynamical 
function, and had gradually become nothing more than an 


ortlioepical or ortliograpliical symbol — an inorganic con- 
ventional element of the spelling. This point could only 
be made out by showing, both from the nature of the case 
and from the usage of Angio-]N"orman and English poets, 
that the written -e represented nothing that existed in the 
ordinary pronunciation, and was therefore only exception- 
ally (by rhythmical license) significant in verse. The 
arguments and illustrations {a summary of which, for the 
sake of distinctness, is subjoined below) throughout have 
had this object in view; and if it is accomplished, the 
question of the pronouncing of -e at the end of the verse is 
conclusively settled; and, with it, the larger proposition 
that the silence of ~e generally is the rule, its utterance 
the exception, in the Canterbury Tales, as well as in the 
other poems of Chaucer. 

I. Formation. — (1.) Commencing with the law of 
formation, it was shown that in nouns and adjectives the 
■e was, (1) as it is now, an orthographical device for in- 
dicating the length of the preceding vowel, or (2) a modal 
suffix to the doubled consonant which denoted the short- 
ness of the preceding vowel, and that being in neither 
case -organic, it was generally, both in ordinary speech and 
in verse composition, silent; hence, that hoke, pine, dome, 
from earlier hok, pin, dom, as well as cliere,' prise, rose, 
■jjeyne^ teste, of jSTorman origin, were essentially monosyl- 
lables; that matere, comiine, doctrine, serijptiire (with 
English accent, mater or matter, comiin or commiin, 
dodrln, scriptUr or scripter), were essentially dissyllables, 
and that desolate, privilege, medimie, covetlse (with Eng- 
lish accent desoldt, privileg (g soft), medicm, coveth), 
were essentially trisyllables. Hence also in illustration of 
(2) it was shown that witte, ramme, synne, dennesse, rilit- 
wisnesse, from earlier wit or witt, ram or ramm, ayn or 
synn, clennyss, rihtivisnyss, were essentially words of one, 
two, or three syllables respectively. 

It was hence concluded that these laws of orthography 


being generally recognized as ortlioepic, were applied also 
(1) to forms in which -e was not added to, but substituted 
for, an earlier termination, and hence that name, shame, 
care, from nama, sceamu, cearu, came under the first rule, 
and (2) to earlier forms which ended in a single consonant, 
and hence that blisse, iwisse, inne, from Uis, gewis, in, 
came under the second rule. 

(2.) The same general law was shown to be applicable 

(1) to cases in which the -e was preceded by a long vowel 
or diphthong, and (2) to some cases in which the -e was 
preceded by an atonic 4 or -y. In illustration of (1) it was 
shown that joie, preye, farraye, loeye, foUe, curtesy e, were 
phonetically = joi, prey, aray, wey, foly, curtesy ; and of 

(2) that glorie, rtiemorie, tragedie, were phonetically === 
glori, memori, tragedi (or with English accent memory, 
ti'dgedy), and that merie, cdrie, tdrie = merry, carry, tarry. 

II. Inflexion. — It was further shown that at the end 
of the 14:th century the notes of grammatical inflexion 
were generally giving way before the law of phonetic 

(1.) The oblique case-inflexion -e loas confounded with 
the formative -e, so that " to the roote^^ " with his Irethe,^^ 
"in his hede,^^ "of wrecchednesse,^^ meant nothing more 
than "to the root;' "with his hreeth;' "in his heed;' "of 

(2.) The adjective plural inflexion -e was confounded 
with the formative -e, so that in "showres soote," "they 
were seeJce;' '^floures white and reede,'' (with which 
may be compared from "Boethius," "to the fair hry^t 
dayes," " gret discordes,** " wihked men," "/a?5 opiriio'uns," 
" with hlalc clouds,") soote, seelm. reede, were phonetically 
equal to soot, seek, reed. 

(3.) The -e of the deflnite adjective loas confounded 
with the formative -e, so that these prose examples, " the 
slak skyn," "to jiis seek man," "of jje wikked multitude," 
" ^ilk man,'^ " ^ilk dee]?," " in J?e first time/^ " in the, ne])er' 


est hem," "]je secound," "Jje ]>nd,[^ '' fe fourt,^^ as well as 
" f e 5?//'6i^ fing," " fat 52t'ei^ bodi/' " fe JjntZ dai," represent 
the usage. (The first seven instances are from " Boethius," 
the next three from Wiclifs "Apology," the last three 
from " Early English Poems.") 

(4.) I7ie -e of infinitives and gerundial infinitives was 
confounded with the formative -e, so that in "for to seehe^^ 
{= seeh)^ "wolden ryde^' (= ryd), "to aryse'' {= arys), 
"wel cowde sche kepe'' {— kep), "to gave'' {= gev), are 
illustrations of the first Canon, and " wol I first hygynne " 
(z= hygyn), " wel cowde he sitte " (= sit), of the second. 
With these instances may be compared "as he my3te 
geet^^ (Boethius), "desiryng to put furfe" {ib.), "may not 
tak part" (Wiclif), "to Ues fe puple" {il.), 

(5.) The -e of the past participjle of strong verhs was 
confounded with the formative -e, so that " was to hire un- 
knowe^^ (= unknow), "sche was not undergrowe'''' {= un- 
der groio\ " rially ihore " (^ ibor^^ " hadde . . . ben schake " 
(:= schdk)y are instances of the first Canon ; and " hath . . . 
i-ronne^^ {= i-ron), "it was ivonne'^ (= toon), "he hadde 
hygonne " (= hygon), of the second. Compare " he hadde 
hygon^^ (Boethius), "I am put away" {ih.\ "fou hast set^^ 
(lb.), "fis fat is put'' (Wiclif), "fis fat is putte'' (ib.), 

(6.) Filial -e of the termination -ede of the past tense of 
weak verbs was silent, so that l&cede = loved, semede~= 
semed, &c. With these instances from C. T. may be 
compared favored, recorded, semed, perced, «fec., from 
" Boethius." This unaccented ~ed continually tended to 
become -d, as lovd for loved (206), with occasional change 
of -d to 4, to which an inorganic -e was added. Thus 
wendede = wended •=. wendd =z ivent = loente ; slepede z=z 
sleped =■ slepd = slep)t = slepte; mcikede = maked =z 
mdkd = mad = made ; seiede •=. seied z=z seid = seide. 
Similarly hdfede == hdfed := hdved = havd = had =. 
hadde ; fed ede =i feded r= fedd =z fed = fedde; wetede 
= weted = ivetd = ivef = wette. 


(7.). On the same principle the -e = earlier -en of the 
plural of the past tense was silent, so that droupeden, 
stemeden, i^winldeden, became drouped (107), stemed (202), 
ticlnlceled (269). So weren became loere = wer, which is, 
with few exceptions, the value of were everywhere in 

(8.) In conformity with the general Canons of spelling, 
and without grammatical intention, many scribes added an 
inorganic -e to the 3rd person singular of the present strong 
verhs, writing hare, rose, spahe, &c., for har, ros, spdk, &c. 
(see Tyrwhitt's text, and the Petworth and Lansdowne 
MSS. passim.); and by analogy the past participles 
yhidde, putte, &c., for yhid, put, &c. Such forms as sene 
(p. part.), borne (id,), to seyne (ger. inf.), for sen, born, seyn, 
are to be accounted for in the same way. 

("9.) The -e of the 1st person of the present tense teas 
generally silent, so that / gesse = / ges (Lansdowne MS.), 
/ seie, preie, &c., = / say, pray, &c. Hence we find 
/ witnes, I Tinoivlech, I graunt, I tak, I dar, &g., in Wiclif. 

It hence appears that at the end of the 14th century, 
when Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales, the final -e had 
become little more than a modal orthographic note of spell- 
ing, scarcely, if at all, recognized in common parlance, 
while at the same time the use of it as an element of 
rhythmical composition was freely admitted. It was 
therefore adopted at the will of the poet, wherever thought 
necessary, in the middle of his verse (except at the 
sectional pause, where it is, as a rule, silent), but not. at 
the end where it was unnecessary. 

The writer, then, believes that he has made out the 
proposition with which he commenced this discussion, and 
hopes to receive the thanks of Professor Child for dis- 
posing of thousands of cases of final -e at the end of the 
verse, which he agrees with him in considering as a 
" puerile " sound, and as producing by its constant recur- 
rence at the end of a long succession of verses '^a 

140 THE ySB OF PINAL -6 

monotony all but intolerable." He ventures also to be- 
lieve that lie has thrown some light upon the early forma- 
tion both of French and English words, and done some- 
thing to illustrate the connection between the vocabulary 
of the two languages. 



As those who contend that when in Early English 
A,S. hlod^ med, hok, ned, lor, dom became Mode, mede, 
hoke, nede, lore, dome, the suffixed -e was essential and 
organic, and converted the original monosyllables into dis- 
syllables, also maintain that the -e in Erench nouns of the 
same form as rose, muse, fortune was also essential and 
organic, and, therefore, constituted a separate syllable, it 
may be worth wbile to examine the question of the for- 
mation of Erench nouns from Latin in some detail. 

The general principle which, governed the process, as 
already stated (p. 96, note 1,) was to convert the Latin 
word into a Erench one, by rejecting the flexion of the 
accusative case, in obedience to the law of accentuation, 
which, required that the tonic syllable of the Latin should 
also be the tonic of the Erench. The result was, generally 
speaking, the conversion of Latin paroxytons and pro- 
paroxytons into Erench^ oxytons and paroxytons, all pro- 
paroxytons being, therefore, absolutely excluded from the 
early Erench language. Thus we have amor from amor-em, 
me reed, mercit (afterwards merci) from merced-Qiai, cdliz 
(afterwards cdlice) from cdlic-em., mur from mur-um, mund, 
mo7id (afterwards monde) from mund-ViVCL, eel, eeil from 
coel-nuL, cas from cas-vim, pas from pass-woii, — the Erench 
word beinff the Latin word minus the termination. 


As, however, we at the same time find, in the earliest 
French, rose from ro^-am, muse from mus-d^Tn, fortune from 
fortun-dim, grace from grat-id^-m or grac-ia.m, monde from 
mtmd-um, veile, voile from vel-mn, frere from fratr-%m, face 
from /ac-iem, it has been plausibly urged that the -e in these 
cases represents the lost vowel of the Latin flexion, and 
is, therefore, essential and organic. It is, however, con- 
tended, on the other hand, by the present writer, that the 
phonetic law of formation in these instances is the same as 
in those previously quoted ; and, therefore, that the essential 
forms are ros, mus, forhln, gras, mund, mond, vel, veil,- 
frer, fas, and that the actual forms are their phonetic 
equivalents. In answer to- the obvious objection that the 
-e in rose, muse, &c., is very commonly significant in old 
French verse, it may be remarked that this is also the 
case in modern French verse, while the same words in the 
ordinary language ignore the sound of -e. Our concern, 
however, at present is merely with the formation of the 
words, not with the uses to which they may be put. 

Eeserving for the present the nouns derived from the 
Latin 1st declension, we notice some that are derived from 
the 2nd declension. Here we find mund-um giving 
mtmd, mondy monde; divis-woa. (participle) giving devis, 
divlse (in EngHsh also device) -^ j:>ar^2Y-um (part.) giving 
pa7'ti, partie, and it is contended that monde =. mond, 
devise = devis, partie = parti, that is, that the -e is no 
organic part of the word. For further illustrations of this 
point we turn not to classical texts in which the scribe 
usually adopts a conventional spelling, but to incidental 
examples furnished by glosses or by slang poems in which 
the spelling is intentionally phonetiCi The writers of such 
compositions generally avoid the conventional spelling, 
but they evidently mean to give the sound. If, therefore, 
we find them in certain cases almost uniformly docking off 
the -e, we conclude that they do so because it was not 
considered to be an organic part of the word. 


Thus we find from vel-vocn^ veil} veile, voile; from 
flagell-um, fleil, flaele ; from re^idit-si =z reddii-Si, rent, 
rente ; from hrogil-um, hruel, hruelle ; from ^o?7z-um, 'pom^ 
pome, pomme ; from casn-unn = quercin-iim, cJien, cJiesne, 
cliene ; from proposit-vcva., propos (Kn^i^h. purpos, purp)ose) ; 
from Jlocc-um, floe, floche ; from pers-vocn, pers, perse ; from 
gest-2^, gest, geste ; from de^peet-^xm.J despit (English despit, 
despite, spite), &c. 

Sometimes only a form in -e, evidently inorganic, is 
found, as from polyj^um, p)oidpe ; from tympan-vim, 
timbre; from composit-uia, compote; from modid-nm, 
mole; from 7niiscul-um, moule ; from cu7md-um., comhle ; 
from cap^ifid-ura, cJiapitre, &c. 

Eut the majority of the Latin nouns of the 2nd declen- 
sion from which French ones are derived have the termina- 
tion -ium. This was also generally rejected in the formation. 
Hence, we find servis, servise^ service, from servit-mm. = 
servic-ivLm. ; piis, prise (English pris, prise, price), from 
pret-ium, j^'^^ec-mm ; cliemis, cliemise, from camis-mui ; Ins, 
liice, lucJie, from Zwc-ium; juys, juise, from judic-mm.; 
usag, usage, from ^^5a^-ium; corag, corage, from corag- 
ium; domag, domage, damage, from domag-mm.; privileg, 
privilege (W idif ]privileg), from pi'ivileg-ivim. We also find 
hrac, bras, hrace, hraclie, from hyxich-ium. ;' fuel,_ fuelle, 
feuille, from/o?-ium ; joi, joie, from gaud-ium, &c. 

The terminations -avium, -orium, -oreum, -onium in 
becoming French were treated somewhat differently. In 
I^orman French the vowel following the r or 7i was 

^ The instances cited are collected from, (1) Anglo-Norman 
glosses in Neckam's Latin treatise "De nominibus utensilium." 
(See Wright's "Volume of Vocabularies" and iScheler's edition of 
Neckam, with various readings from other MSS in " Lexicographic 
latine du xii® et du xiii^ Siecle.") (2) A phonetically spelt poem, 
entitled "Le privilege aux Bretons," published by Jubinal in 
"Jongleurs et Trouveres." (3) A poem of the same kind, entitled 
"La pais aux Englois," published by Jubinal in the work just 
named, and by Wright in " Political Songs" (Camden Society). The 
rest may be generally found in Burguy's " Glossaire etymologique 
de la langue d'O'il," of the 12th and 13th centuries. 


■preserved, thus vicdr4'\im, Gregori-um, ehore-um, Itestimojii- 
um, iDeGame vicdrie, Gregorie, ivorie,^ testimonie, and in 
standard French vicaire, Gregoire, ivoire, testimoine. In 
none of these cases is it prohable that the -e was sonant. 
The law of French formation which forbade proparoxytons 
from entering the language, requires, us to consider 
vicdrle, ivorie as dissyllables = vicdri, ivori, not as 
trisyllables = vicd-ri-e, wo-ri-e. In the case of vicaire 
and ivoire, the -^ was probably inserted at first simply to 
lengthen the vowel sound, and the -e was conventionally 
suffixed, as it was by imitation in English words in 
similar circumstances. (See Canon I. (1), p. 95.) This 
use of i to lengthen or strengthen the simple vowel finds a 
parallel in old Scottish, where we find ai, ei, oi, ui (as in 
the *Brus'), for the older a, e, o, i, u, without alteration of 
sound, so that refuse rhymes with dois, just as in Anglo- 
^NTorman nuit (also written noit and nut) rhymes with 
dedut, hrut, fntt, which are also spelt dedidf, hruit, fruit 
and froit, (See Mr J. H. Murray's ' History of the Lowland 
Scottish Dialects,' p. 53, Trans. Phil. Soc, and the present 
writer's paper on Early l^orman and English Pronunciation, 
p. 401.) In confirmation of this view of the case, we 
note that English words are derived from both forms of 
these words. Thus we have vicory for vicary (wrongly 
accented), rhyming in " Syr Topas " with guirhoili^ and 
vioar, viker, the proper equivalent (with English accent) 
of vicaire, just as Er. gramdire = Eng. grdmer, !N"either 
vicory nor viher shows a trace of sonant -e. So Gregorie 
becomes Gregory, and also Gregor (^ Apology for Lollards'), 
and iwrie becomes ivory (rhyming in Chaucer with 
fetisly), and yvore = yvor, rhyming with rtiore {Allit, 
Poems, p. 6), and with therefore ('Le bone Florence,' 
Eitson's Met, Rom., iii. 26) — the latter word being uni- 

^ Cascun tient en sa buche un com de ivorie (=. ivori) blanc. 

Charlemagne, v. 353. 
^ Cf. I^e prest ys ciystys xycarye^ 

Do jse alle yn hys mereij.r—Hand. Syime, 11791. 


versally a dissyllable in English, and more being generally 
a monosyllable. 

Imparisyllabic nouns of the 3rd declension generally 
become French by simply rejecting the flexion, without 
adding -e, as amor from amor-em; vertut, vertu, from 
virtut-enL ; flum from flu7n-eia. ; nom from nom-en, but 
even in this case ther-e are the , equivalent variants flume, 
noune (Burguy),^ and in English texts, the interchange- 
able forms vertu, oertue ; flour, floure ; honour, honoure ; 
duk, duhe ; merci, mercie, &c. Sometimes also an in- 
organic -e is added, as in home from y^c?m[m]-emj maire 
from maJor-em. ; hitume from Mtum-en ; orine from origin-. 
em, &c. 

In parisyllabic nouns, as^ere, mere, fr ere, from^a^r-em, 
ma^r-em, fratr-&m, we generally find the -e added, as in the 
earliest forms (see 'Alexis' of the 11th century), pedre^ 
mediae, fratre. This last word, however, in the same poem 
i^frere, but in rhythmical value it is simply a monosyl- 
lable, as we infer not only from its function in the verse, 
but also from the fact that we find it ten times written 
as frer in the Cottonian MS. referred to below. In early 
French, indeed, the combinations -de, -pie, -dre, -tre, &c., 
simply represent d, pi, &c. Thus sede in ' Alexis ' is gener- 
ally a monosyllable, and so temple, pedre = tempi, pjedr, 
not tera-ple, pe-dre, the -e being sufiixed merely to preserve 
uniformity of spelling, or possibly to represent the un- 
avoidable sound left on the ear in articulating the liquids. 
Words of this form, however, were often subsequently in 
verse accounted as dissyllables, and in Chaucer -hie, -pie, 
are found as -hel, -pel. 

In the 4th declension we have cas, pas, &c., from cas-um, 
pass-Win., &c., and hence tresj)as from tra^isjjass-um. (also 
pordi', as well as pordie from portic-Vim), but that these 

^ The word comit-em. should by analogy give C07nt or coimt 
but is generally spelt conte. It occurs, however, 27 times as 
cotmt in * The Assault of Massoura,' an Anglo-Norman poem of the 
13th century (about 1260), MS. €otton. Julius A. v. 


words miglit have been written case, cace^ paee^ tres;pace, is 
proved by our finding case, trespace (Ear. Eng. Poems, p. 
122) as well as cas, trsspas, in the same MS. These 
words then are phonetically identical, and the difference is 
merely in the spelling. 

Words of the 5th declension generally have a vowel 
before the -em, but this vowel, as in -mrrtf was rejected with 
the -em, and hence fac-iem. becomes face, just as spat-ium, 
spac-iiim, becomes space. That both these words were 
monosyllables is shown by their becoming in English faas 
(also pre/as), spaas, interchangeably with face, preface, 
space. There is not a tittle of evidence to show that face 
was ever as an English word fac-e, and hence we see why 
it can rhyme in Chaucer with lias (Canon Yeoman^s Tale). 
Everywhere, indeed, in Early English texts (including 
Chaucer) we find -s = -se = -ce^ as devis,. devise, device ; 
pris, prise, price; faas, face; prefas, preface; solas, 
solace ; graas, grace ; spaas, space ; experiens, experience ; 
paciens, pacience, "We therefore conclude that the differ- 
ence between faas and face, as between pas and pace, is a 
difference of spelling, not of sound, and that the Erench 
face was never, except by license, fa-ce in English. 

We now return to the 1st declension, and insist that 
the -e of 7'ose, muse, chose, fortune (from ro5-am, mws-am, 
cavjs-dixn., fortun-sim) had precisely the same function as 
that of space, face, that is, that it was merely an ortho- 
graphic device of the French scribe, and, therefore, that 
rose = ros, muse = mils, cause = cos, chos, fortune = 
fortun^ not ros-e, mus-e, &c., (1) because the normal law of 
Erench formation, before enunciated, converted the Latin 
nouns ro5-am, m?/5-am, fortun-sun., into ros, mils, fortiln, 
what followed being a matter of spelling, not of sound ; 
(2) because the analogy of grace = Eng. graas, grace ; 

^ See this point fully made out in the writer's paper on Early- 
Norman and English Pronunciation. (Transactions of the Philo- 
logical Society, 1870.) 

^ ForUm is found both in Chaucer and Wiclif. 


sjpace ■=. Eng. spaas, s;pace, suggests conversely rose = ros, 
cose, chose = chos ; (3) because we actually find ros, 
chos,^ for rose, chose, in the phonetically spelt Anglo- 
I^orman poem *' La Pais aux Englois." 

As additional illustrations, we find in the Anglo- 
ISTorman glosses on I^eckam's Latin text, saus = sauce, from 
sals-Bia ; creym, crem = cresme, creme, from crem-am ; 
set, say = seie, soie, from set-am. ; essel, aissel = aisselle, 
from axill-Qua ; muel -=. moelle, from meduU-Sim. ; test = 
teste, tete, from test-a.m. ; mol = mole, from mol-ain. ; 
ve^/w = veyne, from ven-Ma ; aguyl = aiguille, from 
ac^c^^?-am, &c., and in the phonetically spelt poem " Le 
privilege aux Bretons,'* mi = m^e, from inic-am. ; semain 
= semaine, from sep^2ma?z-am ; genest •=. mod. ^e7^e^, from 
genist-2im ; droitur = droiture, dreiture, from directw-aia ; 
escrijptur = escripture, from scriptur-sna ; aventur = 
aventure, from adventur-snoa. ; caintur ■=. ceinture, from 
cinctur-a>m. ; cur = c?/re, from cw7-am ; czr := czVe, from 
cer-am ; ^e?* = ifere, iferre, from iferr-am ; /esif = /esfe, /e/e, 
from fest-aia ; dam = dame, from (iom(m)-am ; ?"<^ = ?*?^, 
from 7mg-Bjn. ; som = somme, from sumin-am. ; ^?Z = z;ze, 
from ^;^Y-am ; i2om = Borne, from i?om-am ; /o5 =: /osse, 
from /o55-am ; i;27 = vile, ville, from vill-om.. 

All these instances confirm the theory that this -e was 
merely orthographic, and go far to confute that of its being, 
except by license, pronounced or sonant. 

As in the parallel cases of 4um, -iem of the 2nd and 
5th declensions; -iam, -earn of the 1st were generally re- 
jected in the formation of French nouns. Hence we find 
in the phonetically spelt poems already cited best ("un 
best sauvag ") = heste, hete, from hest-mm. ; gras = grace, 
from grat-idiTCL ; mancis = manace, menace, from 7ninac-ias ; 
parois = paroisse, from paroec-isun ; Frans = France, from 

* Or vint la tens de May, que ce ros pam'rra. — p. 63, Pol. Songs. 
Lessiez or cesti chos ; — Francois nest mi anel. — p. %^. 
Je farra ma talent coment la clws aele, — p. 67, and in four 
other passages. 


Franc-isim ; Normandi = Normandie, from Normand-idim ; 
fil = file, fille, from fil-mm,. Compare also envi = envie, 
from Invid-iajn. ; Im = ligrie, from Zm-eam. There were, 
however, some exceptions to this treatment of -iam as -am 
by rejecting the i, Tragedie^ comedie, for instance, from 
traged-id^m, comed-isna, would by analogy have become 
tragede = traged, comede = corned, as remed-iwon became 
remede, as well as remedie. For some reason or other the 
shorter form was distasteful in these cases. The atonic / 
was, therefore, retained, and an inorganic -e suffixed. 
In these instances as in the analogous ones of victorie, 
gUrie, estorie, &c., the -e could not have formed a syllable 
(except by poetical license) because, as before stated, no 
French word could end in two atonic syllables, or, in other 
words, could be accented on the antepenultimate, and t7Xige' 
di-e, come-di-e, gl6-rl-e, vic-to-ri-G are, therefore, (except by 
poetical license) impossible French words. The -e, then, - 
in these words was certainly not sounded; they ^ere 
virtually = tragedi, comedi, glori, victori, estSri, just as 
vicdrie, librdrie, exempldrie, contrdi^ie, necessdrie were = 
'vicdri, lihrdri, exempldri, contrdri, necessdvL 

The forms glorie = glori, vicarie = vicdri, are properly 
Norman. In standard French the difficulty of accommodat- 
ing the French accent to the Latin (a fundamental' law of 
formation) was got over somewhat differently. The atonic 
'ie was altogether rejected, and t;2c^or-iam, ^Zor-iam, &c., 
became phonetically z= victor, glor. Hence, with the addi- 
tion of the orthographic -e, we find glore (in St Bernard's 
Sermons), and victore, memore, estore, in Philippe de 
Mousque's Chronicles passim. Yery early, however, a 
strengthening i was inserted before the o (probably with- 
out at first affecting the sound), and hence the ordinary 
forms victoire, gloire, &c., in which there is no reason to 
believe the -e was sonant (cf. Chaucer's gloir ; also gluir 
and estoir in " Le privilege aux Bretons "). 

The word mcderie, from mcder-'mm, is a type of a some- 

148 - THE USE OF FIN^AL -6 

what different difficulty, the accented syllable being short. 
The only instance in which this word has been fonnd is 
in "The Conquest of Ireland" (p. 145), where this line 
occurs, ^ jj^g^ I if^dfQ^iQ I voil re|peirer, 

in which it is evident that it was pronounced mater. We 
find it, however, as an English word in Shoreham's Poems, 
rhyming with merie. The difficulty of dealing with the 
word was got over in French by treating the short ac- 
cented syllable as long, and hence we have subsequently 
materie = mafiere (2 syL), and as an English word 
Tnatere, mater, matter. 

Hitherto the case of atonic -ie has been considered. 
But there is a large class of words in which it was tonic. 
Such are curtede, maladie, cuinpanie, pliilosophie, &c. 
(See p. 108, note 1.) It is contended that this termina- 
tion -ie = i, (1) because it comes under the general 
analogy shown in contemporaneous English by Canon 
I. 2 ; (2) because frequently in standard French, and 
almost always in Anglo-l!^orman texts, the -e is silent ; 
(3) because in nearly all Early English texts (including 
Chaucer) the -e in such words as chivah'ie, maladie, &c., is 
mute in the rhythm (except by license) when written, or 
its silence is implied in the constantly occurring variants, 
curtesy y malady, &c. (See p. 115, note 1.) 

It appears, then, that -ie, whether atonic or tonic, was 
orthoepically equivalent to -i, both being represented ixl 
English by tonic or atonic -y. 

The upshot, then, of the whole investigation would seem 
to be that, as already stated, Latin nouns became French 
essentially by the rejection of the flexional termination 
from the stem of the word, the addition of the -e being a 
device of the scribe generally, but not uniformly employed 
to indicate the length of the preceding vowel. That this 
was the intention of the device in question is seen in its 
adoption in English for the same purpose, and its English 
application to words in which (for some reason difficult 


now to ascertain) it was not applied in French, as, e. g. 
case, pace, vertue, desire, 'despite, honoure, floure, duke, 
degree, mercie, mestere, frute, dedute, &c., as well as in 
Anglo-I^orman poems where we find nome, chemine, maine^ 
pele (pel, pean), flume, orgueile, pee, matine, gine, artoise, 
and even the infinitives eschapere, governere. (See " The 
Assault of Massoura."^) "We contend, then, that all the 
facts adduced are consistent with the theory, that the 
essential principle in the formation of French nouns from 
Latin consisted in absolutely rejecting the termination,/ 
whether one syllable or two, and that the -e was an 
orthoepic addition, which was not phonetically significant, 
except by poetical license ; and further, that the English 
scribes borrowed and adopted this usage from the con- 
temporary JN'orman scribes. ^ 

As to French nouns ending in -e generally, it is pro- 
bable that at their first formation the -e was a significant 
syllable, intended by analogy, with feminine adjectives, to 
show that they were feminine. The adjective seint, for 
instance, became seint-e in old French, and this distinction 
was long maintained in the standard language. The -e of 
feminine nouns, derived from the Latin feminine declen- 
sion, may therefore for a time have been sounded. In tha 
13th century, however, there is reason to believe (as our 
instances show) that this distinction was obsolescent, if 
not obsolete, in England,- and hence its. practical insignific- 
ance in Anglo-N'orman is seen in such rhymes as arive, 
maisnee ; meserret = meserre, corueee ;'^ Marie, merci ;~ 

^ The argument derived from the omission of the -e is also con- 
firmed by this MS., in which, as ah-eady stated, we find frer (10 
times) ; mer, Count (27 times) ; Ver (= Vere) ; Normandi, 
arer (4 times) ; Mner, trer (= traire) ; mond, espe, &c. 

^ The converse loss of -e in making French words English with 
change of accent illustrates the position maintained above. Thus 
matere^ manere, hatdile, mitdine, gramdive, armure, aventure, 
figure, manure, mesure, doctrine, medecine, araine, Marie^ became 
in the 14th century mdter, mdner, Mttel, mitten, grdmer, drmour, 
aunter, figer (Wiclif), manner (Northern patois), mexzur (do.), 
drran (do.), ddctrin (Wiclif), medicin (do.), marry (patois). 

^ See Anglo-Norman Fabliau in the first number of " Eomania." 


fierte, entree, &c., and also numerous instances in which 
the -e of the feminine adjective does not count in the 
rhythm. In view, therefore, of all the circumstances of 
the case, it is maintained that no sonant -e was heard 
either in the Anglo-I^orman nouns of the 14th century- 
spelt with -e, and consequently none in the Anglo-]^orman 
nouns imported into the English of the same age; and 
therefore that veyne, veyle, space, grace, face, rente, were 
monosyllables, manere, matere, hataile, corage, viage, 
glorie, dissyllables, and pilgrimage, cu7iesie, companie, 
vilenie, trisyllables to the reader of Chaucer's prose, and 
that only by poetical license was the -e pronounced in his 

This conclusion, which is in perfect accord with the 
arguments of the text in reference to English nouns in -e, 
is strikingly confirmed by the high au.thority of M. Paul 
Meyer, who, in a communication to Mr Eurnivall, which 
the writer is obligingly permitted to use, says, after dis- 
cussing the point in question, " II est done hors de doute 
que pendant tout le temps ou vivait Chaucer le -e final 
atone etait muet en anglo-normande, ou, pour me servir 
d'une expression plus juste, dans le frangais parle en 


The writer's attention has been drawn to the peculiarity 
which distinguishes the French words so largely adopted 
in the Cornish language of the 14th century. These, as 
appears from the Cornish Glossary furnished to the 
Philological Society's Transactions, 1868-9, by Mr Whitley 
Stokes, are almost universally found without the final -e of 
the original form. Two reasons may be given for this fact. 

M. Paul Meyer, commeDting on this poem, says : " li y a un fait 
notamment, que parait hors de doute, c'est que Ve final s'est 
assourdi il est devenu proprement muet, bien plus tot dans le 
Grande Britagne qu'en France." 


One is, that as there was no such termination, that is, no 
final unaccented -e, in pure Cornish words, it would not be 
admitted when the French words became Cornish ; the other 
is, that this sound was not recognized because it did not 
exist. The accented final ~e of French words was retained, 
the unaccented -e was rejected. Hence, we find hat el, 
hateyl, Fr. bataile; leleny, Fr. vilenie ; Uam, Fr. blame; 
coney anSj Fr. conscience ; covaytis, Fr. coveitise ; coyntys, 
Fr. cointise ; caryn^ Fr. careyne ; davys, Fr. devis, devise ; 
dyhoner, Fr. debonere; dyses, Fr. disese ; damsel, Fr. 
damisele ; es, Fr. ese ; envy, Fr. envie ; fas, Fr. face ; gyl, 
Fr. guile ; joy, Fr. joie ; larges, Fr. largesse j maner^ Fr. 
manere j natiir, Fr. nature ; pray, Fr. praie, proie ; person, 
Fr. persone ; pryns, Fr. prince ; spas, Fr. space ; Strang, 
Fr.- estrange, &c. ; but cyte, Fr. cite ; cJierite, Fr. charite ; 
pete, Fr. pite ] plente, Fr. plente. 

These forms, and the reason given for them below, ^ 
confirm the theory maintained in this paper, that the 
final -e was a phonetic index of the sound of the preceding 
vowel, and was not itself sounded either in Early French 
or Early English of Chaucer's age. 

The English words found in Cornisli are very few, but, 
as in doiod, sotli, mery, pat (for pate), seham, smotli, &c., 
they generally reject the -e. 

III. PROFESSOB Lowell's criticism. 

Professor Lowell, of Harvard University, in his charm- 
ing work " My Study Windows," recently published, has 
commented with some asperity on the theory respecting 
final -e broached in the Philological Transactions for 1868- 

^ The writer is indebted to the kindness of the Rev. K. 
Williams of Ehydocroesau, one of our greatest authorities in 
Cornish, for the information that '* The (i. e. the final) -e was not 
admitted into Cornish, because it was not .sounded in words 
borrowed from the French, and being written phonetically, letters 
without sound were not written in Cornish or Welsh. Celtic 
words ending in -e always sounded it." 


9 by the present writer, wliom he charges with having 
'^'undertaken to prove that Chaucer did not sound the 
final or medial -e, and," he adds, "throws us back on 
the old theory that he wrote ^riding-rime,' that is^ -verse to 
the eye and not to the ear." In reply to this charge 
(maintained, by the way, with a certain "Sir Oracle" 
air, which scarcely befits a Professor of the Humanities) 
the writer begs to quote his own words. He asserted, 
" that as a general rule, and in common parlance, the final 
-6 was silent, but in verse composition might be sounded 
whenever the metre required it ; " again, that in the first 
eighteen lines of the Prologue, " a large majority of the 
final -e's were not necessarily sounded by the readers of 
the Harleian MS. 7334 ; " and lastly, at the end of the 
investigation, " There seems, then, some reason to believe 
that the utterance of final -e was in Chaucer's verse the 
exception, its silence the rule, and that orthoepical super- 
seded, when thought necessary or advisable, even 
grammatical considerations." These, and not those given 
by Mr Lowell, are the positions maintained by the writer 
in the paper referred to. They are the outcome of the 
more minute investigation of the present paper. 

Then as to the charge of representing that Chaucer 
wrote "verse to the eye and not to the ear," the reply is, 
that the writer maintained, by implication, the exact 
contrary. His argument throughout was that the -e which 
met the eye was very frequently not recognized by the 
ear — that, for instance, the word curtesie, which to the 
eye is a quadrisyllable, was to the ear a trisyllable, as 
shown by the usage of Anglo-l!s"orman and contemporary 
English writers. Is Mr Lowell's a fair representation of 
this argument 1 

Again, Mr Lowell shows by quotations from Eutebeuf, 
Wace, and Marie de Prance, that these writers generally 
required the -e to be sounded, as if any body had ever 
doubted it. At all events, the present writer expressly states 


the fact in these words, " the soiiiiding of final -e was a 
characteristic of the oldest French writers," i. e. poetical 
writers. His endeayoiir was to show that though this 
was the fact with regard to Eutebeuf, who represented the 
" French of Paris," and might, therefore, be true of others, 
who, like Marie de France and Wace, imitated to a great 
extent the standard style, yet that it was not a ^' character- 
istic," that is, not generally true, of pure Anglo -E'orman 
writers, a class to which neither Wace nor Marie de France 
belongs. ]N"o one before Mr Lowell has considered Wace 
as a writer of pure J^orman, much less of Anglo-lNTorman ; 
and Marie de France, who writes (as Eutebeuf does) clartei, 
heautei, amenei, afermei (past participles), furmaige, 
paraige, &c., for the !N"orman forms clarte, amene, furmage^ 
&c., when compared with the writers of " Charlemagne," 
" The Conquest of Ireland," "The life of Edward the Con- 
fessor," Langtoff s " Chronique," &c., though she employs 
many ISTorman forms, is not a pure Anglo-J^orman writer. 
She affected the French of Paris, as did Gower, who in 
writing French would not for the world, though an English- 
man, haye written like the authors just named, or like the 
writers of the pretty Anglo-J^orman lyrics of the 13th 
century given in Wright's " Lyrical Poetry." Mr Lowell's 
arguments, then, drawn from the usage of the writers of 
standard French, are irrelevant — this usage was not in 
question. His reference to the Scottish honny, which he 
amusingly derives from hone, honne, and to English words 
of Eomance derivation ending in -y, meaning apparently 
such as caurtesy, jealousy^ &c., as proving his point, is 
entirely beside the mark. The case of tormy does not 
require a serious answer ; and as to the others, the fact that 
Chaucer frequently writes curtesy, jealosy, for ciirtesie, 
jealosie, contradicts his argument. Mr Lowell is, not- 
withstanding, a charming writer, and if he did not pro- 
fess to know everything, and were not so very positive in 
his assertions, would be more charming still. 



As an incidental evidence that the suffixing of an in- 
organic -e to a syllable containing a radical long vowel was 
merely an orthoepic expedient, and probably borrowed 
from the I^orman scribes, it may be observed that the 
same words — ^words common to A.S. and the Mecklen- 
burgisch dialect of the 13th century — appear without -e. 
Indeed, they never assumed the -e at all. Thus we find 
in this dialect dal, sal, lam, sham, liar (hair), gewar, dar 
(there), her (an army), her (here), sper, dej>, her (beer), Jif, 
vif (five), hok, stol (stool), hus, almost literatim, identical 
with the A.S. words. We especially note sham as a mono- 
syllable, which A.S. sceamu very early also became. It is 
also noticeable, though not connected with the point under 
discussion, that in this dialect w^e find hor, holt, oh, &c., 
at the present time corresponding to the A.S. bar, Eng. 
bore, boar, A.S. ceald, cald, Eng. cold, A.S. eald, aid, 
Eng. old. It is further noticeable that is, loas, and hadd, 
and drunken, hrohen, &c., not gedrunke, gebroken, are, 
and have been from the 13th century, the forms corre- 
sponding to our own is, was, &c. See Grammatik des 
Meklenburgischen Dialektes alterer und neuerer Zeit. 
Von Karl J^erger. ^^ Leipzig, 1869." In an earlier grammar 
of the same dialect by J. Mussseus, " ]N"eu-Strelitz, 1829," 
we find the following remark, " Da das Platte wenigsylbige 
Worter liebt, und daher nie verlangert, sondern gewohn- 
lich verkiirzet, so wird das -e gerne ausgestossen : Hase (in 
German) =: Has (Platt-Deutsch), so auch (as remarked 
above) allemal das ge des Particip. getrunken (German) = 
drunken (Platt-Deutsch), deshalb sind Apostrophirungen 
haufig." These points of resemblance between our old 
English and Platt-Deutsch only make the differences more 
striking, and aid the argument, that the final -e in the 
English words in question never was, nor was intended to 
be, an organic element. - 







" And Chaucer, with his infantine 
Familiar clasp of things divine — 
That mark upon his lip is wine." 

A Vision of Poets (1844), in Poems by Elizabeth 
Barrett Browning, 1850, i. ^19. 


It is well for all lovers of Chaucer to hear a woman's 
opinion on him, and specially well when that woman is 
one, pure of spirit and noble of soul, our great Yictorian 
poetess, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She wrote this 
opinion before she married, in '' The Book of the Poets," 
in the Athenceum of 1842; it is reprinted in her Gi^eeh 
Christian Poets and English Poets, 1863, p. 110, &c., and 
taken thence now by leave of her husband, the poet, 
Eobert Browning, who says that she took part, with 
"Wordsworth and others, in modernizing some of Chaucer's 
Tales. Mr J. W. Hales has kindly called my attention to 
the following little-known estimate of Chaucer, by Drayton. 

" That noble Cliaucer^ in those former times. 
The first inrich't our English with his rimes, 
And was the first of ours that euer brake 
Into the Miises treasure, and first spake 
In weighty numbers, deluing in the Mine 
Of perfect knowledge, which he could refine, 
And coyne for currant ; and as much as then 
The English language could expresse to men, 
He made it doe ; and by his wondrous skill, 
Gaue vs much light from his abundant quill. 
And honest Gower, who in respect of him. 
Had onely sipt at Aganippas brimme, 
And though in yeares this last was him before, 
Yet fell he far short of the others store." ' 
MiCHAELL DeaytoN" Esqni7'e. * To my" most dearely-loued 
friend Henry Reynolds Esquire of Poets and Poesie' 
ElegleSf in " The Battaile of Agincovrt," 1631. 

Mr Hales proposes to collect for us a chain of poets' 
opinions on Chaucer : a pleasant Paper this will make.— 
P. J. F. 



" But it is in Chaucer we touch the true height, and 
look abroad into the kingdoms and glories of our poetical 
literature, — it is with Chaucer that we begin our * Books 
pf the Poets/ our collections and selections, our pride of 
place and names. And the genius of the poet shares the 
character of his position ; he was made for an early poet, 
and the metaphors of dawn and spring doubly become him. 
A morning star, a lark's exultation, cannot usher in a 
glory better. The ^cheerful morning face,' 'the breezy 
call of incense-breathing morn,' you recognise in his coun- 
tenance and voice : it is a voice full of promise and 
prophecy. He is the good omen of our poetry, the 'good 
bird,' according to the Eomans, Hhe best good angel of 
the spring,' the nightingale, according to his own creed of 
good luck heard before the cuckoo, 

' Up rose the siinne, and uprose Emilie,' 

and uprose her poet, the first of a line of kings, conscious 
of futurity in his smile. He is a king, and inherits the 
earth, and expands his great soul smilingly to embrace his 
great heritage. ^Nothing is too high for him to touch with 
a thought, nothing too low to dower with an affection. 
As a complete creature cognate of life and death, he cries 
upon God, — as a sympathetic creature he singles out a 
daisy from the universe (* si douce est la marguerite '), to 
lie down by half a summer's day^, and bless it for fellow- 

» Prol. to the Legende of Good Women, 1. 179-182 of the 2nd 
cast of the Prologue. — F. 


ship. His senses are open and delicate, like a young 
child's — his sensibilities capacious of supersensual re- 
lations, like an experienced thinker's. Child-like, too, 
his tears and smiles lie at the edge of his eyes, and he is 
one proof more among the many, that the deepest pathos 
and the quickest gaieties hide together in the same nature. 
He is too wakeful and curious to lose the stirring of a leaf, 
yet not too wide awake to see visions of green and white 
ladies 1 between the branches; and a fair House of Fame 
and a noble Court of Love^ are built and hold en in the 
winking of his eyelash. And because his imagination is 
neither too * high fantastical ' to refuse proudly the gravita- 
tion of the earth, nor too * light of love ' to lose it care- 
lessly, he can create as well as dream, and work with clay 
as well as cloud ; and when his men and women stand by 
the actual ones, your stop-watch shall reckon no difference 
in the beating of their hearts. He knew the secret of 
nature and art, — that truth is beauty, — and saying * I will 
make " A Wife of Bath " as well as Emilie, and you shall 
remember her as long,' we do remember her as long. And 
he sent us a train of pilgrims, each with a distinct indi- 
viduality apart from the pilgrimage, all the way from 
Southwark, and the Tabard Inn, to Canterbury and 
Becket's shrine : and their laughter come's never to an 
end, and their talk goes on with the stars, and all the 
railroads which may intersect the spoilt earth for ever, 
cannot hush the ^ tramp tramp ' of their horses' feet. 

" Controversy is provocative. We cannot help observ- 
ing, because certain critics observe otherwise, that Chaucer 
utters as true music as ever came from poet or musician ; 
that some of the sweetest cadences in all our English are 

^ And by the hande he helde this noble quene, 
Corowned with white, and clothed al in grene. 

Prologue to the Legende, 2nd cast, 1. 241-2, 
But the allusion is doubtless to the Ladies of The Flower ^ Leaf, 
which certainly Chaucer never wrote. It must be more than 50 
j^ears after his date. — F. 

^ This poem cannot be proved to be Chaucer's. — F. 


extant in his — ^swete upon his tongue' in completest 
modulation. Let 'Denham's strength and Waller's sweet- 
ness join' the lo paean of a later age, the ^ eurekamen 
of Pope and his generation. JSTot one of the ^ Queen 
Anne's men' measuring out tuneful breath upon their 
fingers, like rihbons for topknots, did know the art of 
versification as the old rude Chaucer knew it. Call him 
rude for the picturesqueness of the epithet ; but his verse 
has, at least, as much regularity in the sense of true art, 
and more manifestly in proportion to our increasing 
acquaintance with his dialect and pronunciation, as can be 
discovered or dreamed in the French school. Critics, 
indeed, have set up a system based upon the crushed atoms 
of first principles, maintaining that poor Chaucer wrote by 
accent only ! Grant to them that he counted no verses on 
his fingers j grant that he never disciplined his highest 
thoughts to walk up and down in a paddock — ^ten paces 
and a turn ; grant that his singing is not after the Hkeness 
of their singsong ; but there end your admissions. It is 
our ineffaceable impression, in fact, that the whole theory 
of accent and quantity held in relation to ancient and 
modern poetry stands upon a fallacy, totters rather than 
stands ] and that, when considered in connection with 
such old moderns as our Chaucer, the fallaciousness is 
especially apparent. Chaucer wrote by quantity, just as 
Homer did before him, as Goethe did after him, just as all 
poets must. Eules differ, principles are identical. All 
rhythm presupposes quantity. Organ-pipe, or harp, the 
musician plays by time. Greek or English, Chaucer or 
Pope, the poet sings by time. What is this accent but a 
stroke, an emphasis with a successive pause to make com- 
plete the time % And what is the difference between this 
accent and quantity, but the difference between a harp- 
note and an organ-note '? otherwise, quantity expressed in 
different ways 1 It is as easy for matter to subsist out of 
space, as music out of time. 


^^ Side by side with. Chaucer comes Gower, who is nn- 
gratefully disregarded too often, because side by side with 
Chaucer. He who rides in the king's chariot will miss the 
people's 'hie est.' Could Gower be considered apart, there 
might be found signs in him of an independent royalty, 
however his fate may seem to lie in waiting for ever in his 
brother's ante-chamber, like IN'apoleon's tame kings. To 
speak our mind, he has been much undervalued. He is 
nailed to a comparative degree ; and everybody seems to 
make it a condition of speaking of him, that something be 
called inferior within him, and something superior out of 
him. He is laid down flat, as a dark background for 
' throwing out ' Chaucer's light ; he is used as a ttov arru) 
for leaping up into the empyrean of Chaucer's praise. 
This is not just nor worthy. His principal poem, the 
Confessio Amantis, preceded the Canterbury Tales, and 
proves an abundant fancy, a full head and full heart, and 
neither ineloquent.^ We do not praise its design, — in 
which the father confessor is set up as a story-teller, like 
the bishop of Tricca, 'avec Tame,' like the Cardinal de 
Ketz, ' le moins ecclesiastique dii monde,' — ^while we admit 
that he tells his stories as if born to the manner of it, and 
that they are not much the graver, nor, peradventure, the 
holier either, for the circumstance of the co'nfessorship. 
They are, indeed, told gracefully and pleasantly enough, 
and if with no superfluous life and gesture, with an active 
sense of beauty in some sort, and as flowing a rhythm as 
may bear comparison with many octosyllabics of our day ; 
Chaucer himself having done more honour to their worth 

^ Apply here what Mrs Browning (that is, Miss Barrett) says at 
p. 163-4 on the difference between the Elizabethan period and the 
Cowley one. " The voices are eloquent enough, thoughtful enough, 
fanciful enough ; but something is defective. Can any one suffer, 
as an experimental reader, the transition betw-een the second and 
third periods, without feeling that something is defective ? What 
is so ? And who dares to guess that it may be inspiration ? " 
Gower, of course, writes most respectable verse ; but he is a lore. 
It's just like him, to patronise Chaucer ! — F. 


as stories than we can do in our praise, by adopting and 
crowning several of their number for king's sons within 
his own palaces.^ And this recalls that, at the opening of 
one glorious felony, the Man of Lawes tale, he has written, 
a little unlawfully and ungratefully considering the con- 
nection, some lines of harsh significance upon poor Gower,^ 
whence has been conjectured by the grey gossips of 
criticism, a literary jealousy, an unholy enmity, nothing 
less than a soul-chasm between the contemporary poets. 
We believe nothing of it; no nor of the Shakespeare and 
Jonson feud after it : 

* To alle such cursed stories we sale fy.' 

" That Chaucer wrote in irritation is clear ^ : that he 
was angry seriously and lastingly, or beyond the pastime of 
passion spent in a verse as provoked by a verse, there 
appears to us no reason for crediting. But our idea of the 
nature of the irritation will expound itself in our idea of 
the offence, which is here in Dan G-ower's proper words, as 
extracted from the Ladie Yenus's speech in the Confessio 
Amantis : 

^ I do not believe for a moment that Chaucer adapted bis 
stories from Grower, as he had probably written his Constance, &c., 
long before Grower's Confessio appeared. The stories were common 
enough ; and both writers went to the same original. But' out of 
that they made very different poems. — F. 

^ 1. 78-88. Where he says that he wouldn't write of such cursed 
stories as Canace's (who loved her own brother sinfully), or such 
unnatural abominations as Tyro ApoUonius, who ravisht his own 
daughter, and of whom Grower had written the story in his 
Confessio. Why shouldn't Chaucer have been chaf&ng the " moral 
Grower," that most respectable man, for his gross impropriety ? It's 
just the kind of thing Chaucer would have enjoyed, especially 
when he had himself just finisht his free-and-easy Miller's and 
Eeeve's Tales, and broken off the Cook's, because the flavour was 
getting a little too strong. He, in fact, said to his readers, " You 
may perhaps think my stories a little naughty ; but really they're 
not half so bad as that moral and proper old gentleman's who's 
Poet Lawreate. Mine are only fun, whereas that old respectable's 
are about incest ! Bad I may be ; but as bad as that proper old 
Gower who writes about unnatural crimes ! ! God forbid ! ! ! " It's 
something like Swinburne reproaching Tupper for the immoral tend- 
ency of his productions. And who wouldn't enjoy that joke ? — F. 

3 Not to me.— F. 


' And grete well Chaucer whan ye mete, 
As my disciple and poete ! 

Forthy now in his daies old, 
Thou shalt him telle this message, 
That he upon his latter age. 
To sette an ende of alle his werke 
As he who is mine owne clerke, 
Do make his testament of love.' 

We would not slander Chaucer's temper, — we belieye, on 
the contrary, that he had the sweetest temper in the 
world, — and still it is our conviction, none the weaker, 
that he was far from being entirely pleased by this 

* message.' We are sure he did not like the message, and 
not many poets would. His ^ elvish countenance ' might 
well grow dark, and ^ his sugred mouth ' speak somewhat 
sourly, in response to such a message. Decidedly, in our 
own opinion, it was an impertinent message, a provocative, 
message, a most inexcusable and odious message ! Waxing 
hotter ourselves the longer we think of it, there is the more 
excuse for Chaucer. For, consider, gentle reader ! this 
indecorous message preceded the appearance of the Canter- 
bury Tales,^ and proceeded from a rival poet in the act of 
completing his principal work, — its plain significance being 

* I have done my poem, and you cannot do yours because 
you are superannuated.' And this, while the great poet 
addressed was looking farther forward than the visible 
horizon, his eyes dilated with a mighty purpose. And to 
be counselled by this, to shut them forsooth, and take his 
crook and dog and place in the valleys like a grey shepherd 
of the Pyrenees — ^he, who felt his foot strong .upon the 
heights 1 he, with no wrinkle on his forehead deep enough 
to touch the outermost of inward smooth dreams — he, in 
the divine youth of his healthy soul, in the quenchless 
love of his embracing sympathies, in the untired working 

^ Did the Canterbury Tales ever ajypear at all, in our sense of 
the word ? Separate Tales, or fragments or groups of them, may 
have been circulated during Chaucer's life ; but assuredly they 
never " appeared " as a whole, like Gower's Confessio did. — F. 


of his perpetual energies, — to * make an ende of alle his 
werke' and be old,. as if he were not a poet ! ^ Go to, 
vain man,' — we do not reckon the age of the poet's sonl 
by the shadow on the dial ! Enough that it falls upon his 
grave" (p. 119). 

(p. 134). "But this Sackville stands too low for 
admeasurement with Spenser, and we must look back, if 
covetous of comparisons, to some one of a loftier and more 
kingly stature. We must look back far, and stop at 
Chaucer. Spenser and Chaucer do naturally remind us of 
each other, they two being the most cheerful-hearted of the 
poets — ^with whom cheerfulness, as an attribute of poetry, 
is scarcely a common gift." 

(p. 136). "Chaucer and Spenser fulfilled their destiny, 
and grew to their mutual likeness as cheerful poets, by 
certain of the former processes [glorifying sensual things 
with the inward sense, &c.]. They two are alike in their 
cheerfulness, yet are their cheerfulnesses most unlike. 
Each poet laughs : yet their laughters ring with as far a 
difference as the sheep-bell on the hill, and the joy-bell 
in the city. Each is earnest in his gladness : each active 
in persuading you of it. You are persuaded, and hold 
each for a cheerful man. The whole difference is, that 
Chaucer has a cheerful humanity : Spenser, a cheerful 
ideality. One, rejoices walking on the sunny side of the 
street ; the other, walking out of the street in a way of 
his own, kept green by a blessed vision. One, uses the 
adroitness of his fancy by distilling out of the visible 
universe her occult smiles ; the other, by fleeing be- 
yond the possible frown, the occasions of natural ills-, 
to that ^cave of cloud' where he may smile safely to 
himself. One, holds festival with men — seldom so coarse 
and loud, indeed, as to startle the deer from their green 
covert at Woodstock* — or with homely l^Tature and her 

* There is no foundation for the late legend that connects 
Chaucer with Woodstock. — F. 


'dame Marguerite' low in tlie grasses -^ the other adojDts, 
for his playfellows, imaginary or spiritual existences, and 
will not say a word to ISTature herself, unless it please her 
to dress for his masque, and speak daintily sweet, and rare 
like a spirit. The human heart of one utters oracles ; the 
imagination of the other speaks for his heart, and we miss 
no prophecy. For music, we praised Chaucer's, and not 
only as Dry den did, for 'a Scotch tune.' But never 
issued there from lip or instrument, or the tuned causes of 
nature, more lovely sound than we gather from our 
Spenser's Art. His rhythm is the continuity of melody. 
It is the singing of an angel in a dream." 

(p. 163). "Shirley is the last dramatist, Valete et plau- 
dite, ^osteri. Standing in his traces, and looking back- 
ward and before, we became aware of the distinct demarca- 
tions of five eras of English poetry : the first, the 
Chaucerian, although we might call it Chaucer; the 
second, the Elizabethan; the thirds which culminates in 
Cowley; the fourth, in Dryden and the Erench school; 
the fifth, the return to nature in Cowper and his successors 
of our day. These fiYQ rings mark the age of the fair and 
stingless serpent we are impelled, like the Ancient Mariner, 
to bless — ^but not ' unaware.' ^ Ah tenedicite ! ' we bless 
her so, out of our Chaucer's rubric, softly, but with a 
plaintiveness of pleasure." 

^ Prologue to the Legende. — F. 







Prof. 3Sem|iartr Wm-Mxink 




The present ' edition of the Oomj)leynte to Pite is 
founded on tlie six MSS published by Mr Furnivall in 
the Parallel Text Edition of Chaucer's Minor Poems^ 
Part I, 1871, namely : 

T = Tanner 346 (vellum, ? 1440 ; Bodl. Libr.) ; 
F ~ Fairfax 16 (vellum, ? 1440-50, Bodl. Libr.) ; 
B == Bodleian 638 (paper and vellum, ? 1460-70) ; 
H = Harleian 78 (paper, ? 1450, by Shirley) ; 
C = Cambridge Univ. Libr., Ff. 1. 6 (paper, ? 1460) ; 
Tr = Trinity Coll., Cambr., R. 3. 19 (paper, ? 1460-70). 

The genealogy of these MSS may be traced without 
any great difficulty. 

C seems to be a copy from T, It has all the bad 
readings of this MS (even such unaccountable ones as 
yereres for yeres, 1. 8), — with the sole exception of yore 
(1. SQ) for yoitre, — and in addition to them the following 
blunders of its own : if omitted (1. 4), I om. (12), As for 
And (32), Tiys heaute altered from Tiye heaute (70), strems 
for streme (94). Also in orthography (or rather cacography) 
the two MSS resemble each other very closely. Still in 
this respect too G is somewhat worse than T ; cf. grase 
(91), mersi (92), Alliauns (83), for grace, merci or mercy 
(T), alliaunce (rhyming with oheisamice). 

T and Tr belong to the same type, having many false 
or dubious readings in common, especially many omissions. 
They drop wlien (8, and again 45), / (10), to (48), tlie (82), 
youres (113). On the other hand, each MS has some 
blunders not found in the other.^ T has worde for 
world (3 and 77), and for all (10), ffidl instead of for (33), 
euyr om. (33), there om. (36), and hy for and {A:2), of om. 
(56), your om. (59), that om. (103). Tr has with my 
trouth instead of for my trouth (7), doth dy for doth me 
^ Those occurring in T are, of course, found also in C. 


dye (7), of for on (11), Doune for Adoion (15), sowne for 
swone (16), awe? for or (34), mo for wo (37), Bounte. Per- 
fytioyll Amor and ryghtly for Bounte perjite wel armed 
and richely (38), yong for 2/c>«^^Z^ (40), cause (repeated from 
the preceding line) for pleynte (47), no man for no hill 
(49), hounde for heaute (70), Fo^^r penaunce ys for to do 
in a ihrow for youre renown is fordo in a tJirowe {^^). 
Hence we may infer that neither MS was copied from the 
other, but that both were copied from the same earlier MS, 
which we call z. 

To a different group belong F and B ; these two MSS 
agree in a few false readings, 11. 32, 50, 111, and as F was 
certainly not copied from B (which is evident from 11. 24, 
36, 42, 45, 97, 117)', nor B from F (cf. 11. 87, 91, 102, 
114), both were probably copied from the same earlier 
MS {= v). 

If we compare v and z with H^ we see that H has a 
great many peculiar readings, whereas v and z more 
generally agree. In the greater part of these passages H, 
no doubt, is wrong, and this MS seems to be the less 
trustworthy, as its scribe (Shirley) has evidently tried to 
correct the text, as he found it, by conjectural emendation. 
To give an instance, the three opening lines of the poem 
may be supposed to have run thus in the prototype of H : 

" Pitye fat I haue sought so yore 
"With hert sore ful of besy peyne 
]pat in pis worlde nas per no wight so woe." 

Shirley saw that the first line was corrupt, but he was 
not aware of the concluding word : ago having been 
dropped. He therefore probably inserted wliiche before 
^at, and, in order to make the first line rhyme with the 
tliird, altered in the latter so woe into woer. ISTot unlikely 
it was also Shirley who wrote 1. 5 of pitee for to jpleyne, 
instead of to pitee, &c. (at the same time, inserting And 
eJce at the beginning of the following line), and who 
accordingly called the poem a complaint of Fltee. 


But numerous as tlie errors of If are, still there are 
many passages where Shirley's MS alone either has the 
true reading or helps us to find it out. See 11. 9, 25, 34, 
35, 50, 71, 109, &c. A careful examination of these 
passages leads us to the conclusion that v and z were both 
copied from the same MS (== y), which was not the 
source of H. 

H and y, of course, finally derive from' the same 
source, — ^we call this common source of H and y': x, — 
but from what has been said about the alterations made 
by Shirley and the errors he found in his prototype, it is 
evident that H was not directly copied from x^ but is 
linked to it by another MS (== w). 

The results we have arrived at with respect to the 
genealogy of our six MSS, may be illustrated by the 
following scheme :-— 

Of all six MSS F, no doubt, is the best, and Tr the 
worst, whereas C is the most worthless. H, though 
perhaps more unlike the original than any other MS, 
may be called the most precious of all, inasmuch as it is 
the unique ,copy of its type. 




Pite, that I have sought so, yoore ago, 1 

With herte soore, and ful of besy peyne, 

That ill this world nas never wight so wo, 

"Withoute deeth, — and if I shal not feyne, 4 

My purpos was to Pite to compleyne 

U|)on the cruelte and tirannye 

Of Love, that for my trouthe dooth me dye. 7 


And whan that I by lengthe of certeyn yeeres 8 

Hadde ever in oon a tyme sought to speke, 

To Pite ran I, al bespreynt with teeres, 

To preyen hir on Cruelte me awreke ; 1 1 

But er I niyght with any worde outbroke. 

Or tellen any of my peynes smerte, 

I fond hir deed and buried in an herte. 14 

1. whiclie J?at H. ago 07)i. H. 2. and om,. H. 3. this 
worde TC. was neuer FBTCTr^ nas l^er no H. woer S. 4. if 
0111. C. 5. of pitee for to pleyne II. 6. And eke opon ])Q 
cruwel thirannye H. 7. with my trouth doth dy Tr. 

8. whan om. TCTr. 9. 'sought(e) a tyme FBTCTr. 

10. I ran H, I om. TCTr. and besprente TO. 11. of cruelte 
Tr. wreke //. 12. I om. 0, 13. telle her eny TCTr, 
M. Pitee ded //. 

Chaucer's compleynte to pite, 171 


Adoune I fel, wlian that I saugh tlie herse, 15 

Deed as stoon, while that the swogh me laste ; 

But up I roos with colour ful diverse, 

And pitously on hir myn yne I caiste, 18 

And neer the corps I gan to presen faste, 

And for the soule I shoop me for to preye : 

I nas but lorn, there nas no moor to seye. 21 

,' (4) 

Thus am I sleyn, sith that Pite is deed ; .22 

Alias the day, that ever hit shulde falle 1 

What maner man dar now holde up his heed ?. 

To whom shal any sorwfal herte calle % 25 

IsTow Cruelte hath cast to sleen us aUe 

In ydel hope, folk reedelees of peyne, 

Sith she is deed, to whom shul we compleyne 1 28 


But yet encreseth me this wonder newe, 29 

That no wight woot that she is deed, hut I, 

So many men as in hir tyme hir knewe ; 

And yet she dyed noght so sodeynly : '32 

For I have sought hir ay ful besyly, 

Sith first I hadde witte or mannes mynde, 

But she was deed, er that I koud© hir fynde. 35 

15. And dovne K^ Doune ^. that om. MSS. 16. as a 
ston Tr. whyles )?at H. swoue T^ swone (7, sowne Tr. me .om. 
HTr. 17. wel dyverse ff. IS. ey Ti: 19. nerer (nerrer) 
TCTr, nerre S. I came to presen H^ I gan presen FBTCTr, 
21. was . . . was FJBTGTr, Me thought me lorn jjer was noon 
o\)Qv weye IS. 

23. that day FBTCTr. 24. now om. B. heve vp S. 
25. now eny FBTCTr. 27. In ydelle hope we lyve redlesse of 
peyne S. 28. we shoulde vs pleyne K. 

30. wot Mr ded oonly but IJS. 31. So many a man j^at H, 
32. As yette C. - she om. FB. noght oin, Tr. so om. FBTCTr. 
or mynde FBTC, and mynde Tr. 35. that om. FBTCTr. 


Aboute hir liers there stooden lustylj, 36 

Withouten any wo, as tlioiighte me, 
Bonnte parfjt, wel armed and ricliely. 
And fresshe Beante, Lust, and Jolyte, 39 

Assured maner, Yonthe, and Honeste, 
Wisdom, Estat, and Dreed, and Grovernaunce, 
Confedred booth by bonde and alliaunce. 42 

A compleynte hadde I, writen, in myn hond, 43 

For to han put to Pite as a bille, 
But whanne T al this companye there fond, 
That rather wolden al my cause spille, 46 

Than do me helpe, I heeld my pleynte stille ; 
For to.tho folk, withouten any faylle. 
Without Pite tie may no bille avaylle. 49 

Than leeve I al thise vertues, sauf Pite, 50 

Keeping the corps, as ye have herd me seyn, 
Confedred all by bonde of cruelte, 

And been assented that I shal be sleyn. 53 

So I have put my compleynte up ageyn. 
For to my foos my bille I dar noght shewe, 
Theffect of which seyth thus in wordes fewe : 56 

36. there om TO. lustel J^^(? press or clerical error), besylye 
B. 37. without any mo Tr, With outen making doel JET. 
38. parfyte weel arrayed H, Perfytwyll Amor Tr. ryghtly Tr. 
40. yong and honeste Tr, 41. and (defor'e Dreed) 07)i. 3ISS. 
4:2. by hande IT. and assurance JI, of alaunce B, and by alH- 
aunce TC. 

44. To haue put FBTCTr. 45. whanne om. TCTr. but 
when I saw all this companye ther stonde B. 47. my com- 
pleynt J7, my cause Tr. 48. to om. TCTr. that folke FBTCTr, 
49. ther may FBTCTr. noman Tr. 

50. leve we al FB, leue al TCTr. thes om.. FBTCTr. sane 
oonly pite FBTCTr. 51. the heerse JI. 52. all om.. FBTCTr, 
and by cruelte FBTC, and cruelte Tr. 53. when I shal 

FBTCTr. 54. So ^anne I putte H, And I haue put FBTCTr. 
vp my complaynt Agayne Tr. 55. foomen H. dourst H. 
56. of om. TC. |?effect of ]?e matere was this at wordes fewe S, 



Humblest of herte, highest of reverence^ 57 

Benygne flour, coroune of vertues alle, 

Sheweth unto your rial excellence 

Your servaunt, if I durste nxe so calle, 60 

His mortal harme, in which he is yfalle, 

And noght al oonly for his evel fare, 

But for your renoun, as he shal declare. 63- 


Hit stondeth thus : your contraire, Cruelte, 64 

Allyed is ayenst your regalye, 

Under colour of womanly Beaute, 

For men ne shuld not knowe Mr tirannye, 67 

With Bounte, Gentilesse, and Curtesye, 

And hath depryved yow now of your place, 

That hight " Beaute, apertenaunt to Grace." 70 


For kyndly, by youre heritage ryght, 71 

Ye been annexed ever unto Bounte, 

And verrayly ye oughte do your myght 

To helpe Trouthe in his adversyte ; 74 

Ye been also the coroune of Beaute, 

And, certes, if ye wanteii in thise tweyne^ 

The worlde is lore, there nis no moor to seyne; 77 

59. your oni. TO. souuereyne excellence H. 60. dourst 
my self H. 61. in which he is falle FBTCTr, whiche he is 
Inne falle H. 62. al om. Tr. 63. as I shal Hi 

64. that your contrary FBTC^ that contrary Tr. 65. ayens 
(agaynes) BTC. 66. Under l^e coloure K. 67. ne om,. MSS._ 
nought loo knowe H. 69. now om. FBTCTr. 70. That is 
hygh (hye) beaute FBT, That is hys beaute O, That ys hygh 
bounde Tr. to your grace FBTCTr. 

71. and ryght H. 72. beoj^e H. 75. beo>e H. 77. worde 
TC. ther is FBTCTr. 


Eek what avaylleth Maner and Gentilesse 78 

Withoute yew, benygne creature ? 
Shal Cruelte be now governeresse 1 

Alias, what herte may bit longe endure 1 81 

"Wberfore, but ye tbe ratber take cure 
To breke that perilous alliaunce, 
Ye sleen bem tbat been in youre obeisaunce. 84 


And further over, if ye suffre this, 85 

Your renoun is fordoon than in a throwe, 

There shal no man wete what Pite is j 

Alias that your renoun shuld be so lowe ! 88 

Ye been, than fro youre heritage y thro we 

By Cruelte, that occupieth your place, 

And we despeyrd, that seeken to your grace, 91 

Have mercy on me, vertuouse queen ! 92 

That yow have sought so tenderly and yoore ; 
Let som streem of your lyght on me be seen. 
That love and dreed yow ay lenger the moore ; 95 

For, sooth to seyne, I here the bevy soore, 
And though I be noght kunnyng for to pleyne, 
For Goddes love, have mercy on my peyne 1 98 

78. or gentilesse I£. 79. "With yowe benigne and feyre 

creature H, 80. be nowe oure JI, be your FBTCTr. gouer- 
nesse TCTr. 81. shal may J^at endure H. 82. the oiii, 
TCTr. 83. To breke of {joo persones \)Q allyaunce H. 84. of 
your obeyssaunce M, vndyr your obeysaunce Tr. 

85. forthermore TCTr. 86. than om, JBFTCTr, with a 
throwe H. Your penaunce is for to do in a throw Tr. - • 87. no 
wight wit H, no man wete well F. what the peyne is H. 
88. that euer your renoun is falle FBTCTr. 89. Ye be also fro 
FBTCTr. throw T?*. 91. we be dispeyred ^6^, woo dyspeyreth 
Tr. that speken F. to om. TCTr. 

92. yee vertuouse qweene H, thow herenus (heremus Tr") quene 
FBTCTr. 93. so tenderly and so yore TC, so truwely and so 
yore H. 94. some strems C, ]}Q streme H. your om. FBTCTr. 
95. louejpe and dredej^e H. euer FBTCTr. the om. H. 96. For 
sothely FBTC, That sothly Tr, ]>q sooj^e H. for to seyne MSS. 
1 bere so soore FBTCTr. 97. no kunnynge B. 

Chaucer's complwnte to pite. 175 


My peyne is this, that what so I desire, 99 

That have I noght, ne no thing lyk therta, 

And ever set Desire myn herte on fire ; 

Eek on that oother syde, where so I go, 102 

What maner thing that may encrese my wo, 

That have I reedy, unsought everywhere : 

Me ne lakketh but my deeth, and than my here. 105 


What needeth to shew parcel of my peyne 1 106 

Syth euery wo that h.erte may bethynke 

I suffre, and yet I dar noght to yow pleyne. 

For wel I woot, al thogh I wake or wynke, 109 

Ye rekke noght whether I fleet or synke. 

Yet natheles my trouthe I shal sustene 

Unto my deeth, and that shal wel be sene. 112 


This is to seyne : I wol be youres ever ; 113 

Thogh ye me sle by Cruelte, your fo, 

Algate my spirit shal never dissever 

Fro your servise, for any peyne or wo. 116 

Sith ye be deed, — alias that hit is so ! — 

Thus for your deeth I may wel weepe and pleyne, 

With herte soore, and ful of besy peyne. 119 

99. thus that what I desire Tr. 100. nor nothing lyke 
therto Tr, ne nought }»at ly>e Jjerto H. 101. setteth 3£SS. 
102. sydes JP, 103. that 07}i. TO. my 07n, S. • 104. euyz 
where TC. 105. ne om. MSS. (pronounce ' Me ne ' as * Meen ' : 
see the Notes), but deth Tr. 

106. What neede]3e it shewe IS. parcelles (-ys) MTr. 
107. can bethynk Tr, 109. al om. FBTCT\ 110. where I 
FB. 111. Yit neuer j^e lesse H, But natheles yet FB, And 
netheles yit TC, And neuerthelesse yet Tr. 

113. youres om. TCTr. 114. your soo F, as foo S. 

115. Algates H. 117. Sith yet be deed B. Nowe pitee that I 
haue sought to yoore a goo H. 119. al ful II. 



1. 1. Pite^ that I have sought- so, yoore ago. That so refers 
to the verb, and not to yoore ago, is evident from 1. 3 : 

" That in this world nas never wight so wo." 
Compare the somewhat different line 93 : 

" That yow have sought so tenderly and yoore." 

1. 11. To prey en Mr on Cruelte me awrehe. The e oi me is 
elided. See my edition of the Prologue to the Canterhury 
Tales, note to 1. 148. To the passages there referred to, I add 
Prioresses Tale^ 1. 18 : 

" Thurgh thyn humblesse the goost that in thalighte," 

where in thalighte, of course, is = in the alighte. Second 
Nunnes Tale, 1. 32 : 

" Thou confort of us wrecches do me endite." 
1, 27. folh reedelees of peyne. Cf. Deeth of Blaunche, 1. 587 : 
" This 3^s my peyne wythoute rede." 

1. 33. For I have sought liir ay ful hesyly. For ay the 
MSS read euer (with the exception of HTC, which omit the 
word) ; but euer, when followed by a consonant, is always, I 
believe, a dissyllable in Chaucer. Cf. 1. 95. 

1. 50. Than leeve I al thise vertues, sauf' Pite. So H. 
The scribe of y dropped / and thise, and inserted only (before 
Pite) ; thereupon the scribe of v, seeing that the verb wanted 
a pronoun, added loe. 

1. 52, all = alV for alU. 

1. 53. And been assented that I shal he sleyn. And been 
assented = who been assented or being assented. Cf. Legende 
of Cleojjatra, 1. 124 seq. : 

" Now or T fynde a man thus trewe and stable 
And wele for loue his deth so frely take 
I preye god let oure hedys neuere ake."* 

1. 70. That hight Beaute, ajjertenaunt to Grace. A most 
beautiful line, which K alone gives us in its original shape. 

1. 71. For hyndly by youre heritage ryght. heritage, of 
course, stands in the genitive case. 

^ MS Cambr. Univ. Libr. Gg. 4. 27, printed by Mr H. Brad- 
shaw; The Fairfax MS (edd. Bell, Morris) has (1. 125) And wolde. 

NOTES. 177 

1. 91. And we despeyrd that seeken to youre grace. Cf. 
. 1 Kings X. 24: And all the earth sought to Solomon. &c. 

l.:95. That love and dreed yow ay lenger the moore. The 
y MSS have euer lenger the more^ and this is not necessarily 
wrong, though I hold ever to be a dissyllable. In ever lenger 
the moore, never- the moore^ never the lesse, Chaucer not un- 
frequently drops the e in the, pronouncing lengerth, neverth, 
Cf. ClerJce Tale, 1. 687 ; Man of Lawes Tale, 1. 982, &c. 

1. 101.- Set, not sefth. We meet with ' comth ', ^makth*, 
&c., but whenever Chaucer wants to shorten forms like 'find- 
eth, biddeth, slideth, riseth, sitteth,' he writes ' fint, bit, slit, 
list, sit.* When the theme ends in d, t, or s, the eth is thrown 
aside, the d is changed to t, the t is left alone, and the s has 
t added to it. See Tyrwhitt, Canterbury Tales, note to 1. 187. 
Set for setteth is found also in the Sompnoures Tale, 1. 1982 : 

" With which the deuel set youre herte afyre." 
1. 105. Me ne lahheth hut my deeth, and than my here, ne 
is not in the MSS (it is also omitted 1. 21). It is, however, 
a necessary complement to hut = ' only,' as hut properly 
means ' except,' and a collation of the best MSS of the Canter- 
bury Tales shows that Chaucer never omitted the negative in 
this case. (The same observation was made already by 
Prof. Child in his excellent paper on the language of Chaucer 
and Gower ; see Ellis, Early English Pronunciation, p. 374.) 
Me ne in line 105 forms but one syllable, pronounced meen. 
In the same manner I ne == iin occurs, Proh to the Canter- 
bury Tales, 1. 764 (from Harl. 7334), 

" / ne saiigh -this yeer so mery a companye ; " 
Man of Lawes Tale, 1. 1041, 

" I %3 seye but for this ende this sentence.^' 
Compare middle high German : in = ich ne, f. inst. in han dir 
nicht (Walter v. d. Vogelweide, ed. Lachmann, 101, 33). In 
early French and Proven9al me, te, se, &c., when preceded by 
a vowel, often become m, t, s, &c. ; in Italian we have cen for 
ce ne. &c. 


lis TOorbs mxh maxU. 


VTl. Chaucee's Prioress, her Chaplain and three Priests, 
illustrated by the Siirvey of the Abbey or Monastery of St 
Mary, Winchester, 14 May, 1537 A.D. XFrom the Paper 
Surveys of Monasteries i)i the-Hecord Office^ ^'Augmentation 
Office Miscell. Boolis,'^ vol. 4-00, pp. 24—32.) By Frederick 
J. FURNIVALL (written in 1873). 

VIIL The Alliteration in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. 
By Felix LindneRj Ph.D., Rostock, Mecklenburg. 

IX. Chaucer a Wiclippite. An Essay on Chaucer's Parson 
and Pa7'$on's Tale. By H. Simon, Sohmalkalden. 

X, a. The Sources of the Wipe op Bath's Prologue : 

b. Chaucer not a Borrower prom John op Salisbury. 
By the Rev. W. W. Woollcombe, M.A., Exeter College, 
Oxford ; Syde Rectory, Cirencester. 

(Dr Weymouth's Paper on Here and There in Chaucer is nearly 
ready fo;r Press*). • • • ^o, ,•. 

-»* • « 





[Reprinted 1900.] 

S«00nb ^nm^ i6. 





U MAY, 1537 A.D. . 

{Fi'om the Pamper Surveys of Monasteries in the Record Office, 
^''Augmentation Office Miscelh Boohs,'' vol. 400, ;pp. 24—32.) 



(written in 1873). 




(Matj 14^ 1537.) 

TuRNXN*G over these Paper Surveys &r further evidence 
as to Bondmen in England at the time of the Reformation 
(see my papers in Notes and Queries^ 1873, vol. 1), I came 
on this St Mary's Survey ; and as it helpt me with Chaucer's 
Prioress, I hope it may help others, on these points ': — 

1. I had often wonderd why Chaucer made such a 
great point of the fine manners, the dejpm^tmerd, of his 
Prioress. One would have expected, in a description of 
the Presidentess or Yice-Presidentess of a religious hoiise, 
that her religion or her holiness, her worn features or her 
abstraction from human vanities, would have been most 
dwelt on. But no ; with Chaucer, the Prioress's nice 
manners are his chief theme. Whyl Because, as the fol- 
lowing * Survey ' shows^ the Prioress must have been 
* finishing governess,' like her sister of St Mary's, to per- 
haps * xxvj Chyldren of lordys, knyghtte^ and gentylmen, 
browght up yn [her] Monastery '. In early days. Deport- 
ment was of far greater importance than it is now — see my 
Bahees Booh (E. E. Text Soc. 1868)— and therefore Chau- 
cer rightly makes the most of his Prioress's pretty ways. 

2. He gives his Prioress * Another JS'unne . . that was 
hire chapelleyn '. This * chaplain ' has been a sad stum- 
bling-block in critics' way; and for this reason, that no 
Nun could be a chaplain — understanding that term as in- 
volving that of Priest — in the Eomish church, as no woman 
can be one in the JEnglish Establishment. The remedies 
proposd hitherto have been : 1, wife Mr Bradsliaw and 

184 VII. THE prioress's CHAPLAIN^ 

Prof. Ten Brink, to alter the reading pf the two lines, and 
ma'ke a priest the Prioress's chaplain ; 2, with Dr R. Morris 
and (independently) Mr Selby of the Record Office — (to 
whose courtesy I am much, indebted)— to read * chapelleyn ' 
as * chastelleyn,' castellan ; or with Dr R. Morris afterwards 
* chamberlayn ; ' '3, with me, to heed JD'Arnis's * (or Ducan- 
ge's^) definitions of Capellanus^, which show that its 
meaning of ' priest ' was a comparatively late one, and was 
preceded by that of ' amanuensis, secretary ', the exact 
meaning we want ; or, if we must suppose that this histori- 
cal succession of meanings was not known to Chaucer, we 
may well imagine that as he saw bishops and other grand 
male ecclesiastical officials always attended by their Chap- 

* Capellanus — [1] Primitus qui cajjam seu capellam S. Martini 
in regis palatio asservabat, eamque in praeliis deferebat ; gardien 
de la chdsse de S. Martin de Ihttrs (Sec. VI, VII). — [2] Notarius, 
amanuensis, cancellarius ; secretaire, greffier, chancelier (pas- 
sim). — [3] Rector ecclesiae ; cure (Anno 1282). — [4] Quivis 
presbyter ; pretre, eeclesiastigne. (Ch. 0»cit.) — [5] Qui capellae, 
seu sediculag sacrse praef ectus est ; pretre qvi dessert une cJiapelle, 
un oratoire, chapelain (passim). Capellanns aiivorce seu de alba, 
qui sacra facere debet aurora seu diluculo, Hispanice alba. {Cone, 
Hisp.). Capellanus perpetuus, major vicarius (An. 1386). — [H] 
Qui ex aliqua capella seu parochia est ; paroissien (^Martyr. Pist,), 
^ Mr H. H. Gibbs first calld my attention to Ducange's definition : 
but long after I bad adopted the same meaning from common sense. 
^ See also Ducange, ed. 1733, vol. ii, col. 228 : — 
<' Capellanos vero dictos scribas, secretaries, & amanu- 
enses Regies constat . . . Ita etiam Capellanos pro secretariis 
& amanuensibus passim usurpant Poetse nostrates. Le Roman 
de Garin MS. 

Un Chappelein appele ; si li dist : 

• Fes unes lestres orendroit, biaus amis. 

Si les envoie Fromondin le posteis,' &c. 
Alibi : 

Tenes ces lestres, que il voie vers Pepin. 

Et cil les prant; son Chapelein a dit : 

' Gardes qu'il a es lestres, biaus amis &o.' 
Idem de From.ondino : 

Les lestres tent son Chapelein Baudri ; 

Et cil les prant ; de chief en chief les list. 
Alio loco de Pipino ; 

Veez cy les lestres qu'il envoie par mi, 

Li Rois les bailie son Capellein Hervi. 
Rursus : 

La sont les tables au Chappeleiti Yvon, 

Qui fet les briez au preu Comte Fromont. 

Vide BrechP 

VII. THE prioress's CHAPLAIN AND 3^ PRIESTS. 185 

lains, he just us'd the same name for the femade^atte^,4a^t 
or companion of the female head or officer of a religious 
house. If however any perverse man still insists on a 
change of reading for Chaucer's ' chapeleyn \ we find in the 
following pages a more probahle one than Dr Morris's and 
Mr Selby's * chastelieyn ' — an officer (or officess) unknown, 
I apprehend, in houses of nuns or monks. !m 

The St Mary's Survey shows that Abbess Elizabeth Shel- 
ley had a ' gentyllwoman,' Jane Sherley, besides a servant 
Isolde Salter. Jane Sherley, however, was not a nun ; but 
we do find a nun with a title that will suit uSy namely, that 
of ' Sacristan ', — spelt as we want it, ' sekestejoi ', in my 
Eoberde of Brunne's Handlyng Syune (a.d. 1303), 1. 11,098 
(cp. ^ Cexteyne (cyxten) Sacrista ', Prompt. Parv.) — Dame 
Margarette Lee was * Sexten ' of St Mary's (p. 192^ 1. 5, 
below). If then the word * chapelleyn ' is to be changed, 
I think that * sekesteyn ', not * chastelleyn ', must take its 
place ; but I should myself unliesitatingly retain ' chapel- 
leyn ' in the sense of * private secretary, attendant '. 

4. Besides her ^ Chapelleyn ', Chaucer gives his Prioress 
' thre Preestes '. Now why two ]N"uns should want three 
Priests, has often been askt, and never answerd. Where 
did they get 'em from ; what did they do with 'em ? One 
apiece, and one for a change, is surely full, measure. More- 
over, we only have one ' iJ^Tonnes Preest ' among the Tellers 
of Tales, and we only want one Priest to make up the 
number of Chaucer's pilgrims as stated by himself, 29. 
Mr Bradshaw accordingly suggested that we should, or 
might, alter Chaucer's 

Another Nonne / with hir hadde sehe - "163 

That was hire Chapeleyne / and pree&tes thre 


Another Nonne with hire had she certeyn, 
And eke a Prest that was here chapeleyn. 

Such a slashing change as this might suit a German editor, 
but would hardly recommend itself to an English one with 
any respect for his MSS, I have no doubt that the MSB 


are right, and that the Prioress and her Nun had their 
three Priests. Our Survey of St Mary's shows that there 
were no less than five chaplains in the Monastery, who, 
I takfe^it, from their titles of ' Magister ' (the Confessor) and 
^Sir,' must have been all priests. Surely two of these 
must have been enough to do all the religious work of the 
monastery; and the other three ptiests might well have been 
spared for a holiday outing to Canterbury or elsewhere, iu 
company with their Prioress and one of her !Nuns. The 
* Magister * would be specially " TJie Konnes Preest ", the 
two ' Sirs ' being lookt on as his underlings. So we don't 
want any alteration whatever of Chaucer's text. 

I hope no reader will groan over the 'base use ' of such a 
Eecord as the following, for mere illustration of Chaucer, 
when it should call up thoughts of desecrated shrines, 
saintly ladies torn from venerated altars and lioly homes, 
good works stopt, and pledgd lives forsworn. To the 
Chaucer student, the world from .1340 to 1400 consisted 
of just two parts, one Chaucer, the other not-Chaucer; 
the latter valuable mainly^ if not only, as it illustrates the 
first part, Chaucer. And to the studier of social England, 
it is plain that there was better work in the world for 26 
J^uns, 13 poor Sisters, 9 women servants, 5 male chap- 
lains, and 20 male officers and servants — 73 adults in all — 
than educating^ or deducating, 26 girls, and saying prayer^. 

Of the numbers above given, wdth 3 Pensioners, the 
Abbey or Monastery of St Mary, Winchester, consisted. 
The Abbess had under her a Prioress, Sub-prioress, Sa- 
cristan, and 18 other professt ISTuns, besides 4 Novices. 
The Abbess had, as was aforesaid, her own gentlewoman 
and servant, besides her own laundress ; and the Prioress, 
Subprioress, Sacristan, and one of the nuns (Dame Mawde 
Bruyne) had each a separate, house and servant. There 
were 2 laundresses for the convent generally; and two male 
cooks; besides two other male cooks, for the female and 
male officials, I presume. The other male officers and 


servants comprised a Eeceiver (of rents, &c.) and his 
servant, a Clerk and his servant, a * Cuityar ' (1 holder of 
courts-baron, &c.). Caterer (like Chaucer's * Manciple'), 
butler, baker, brewer, miller, two porters, one iinder-porter, 
two * Churchemen ' (care-takers of the Church ?), and one 
* Chyld of the hygh aulter ' (p. 194). The three Pensioners 
or Corodiers no doubt took their ease, and enjoyd themselves. 
It is pleasant to hear that the Kuns were liked in their 
town, and were of * very clene, vertuous, honest, & charit- 
able convr^rsacion, order & rule'. Only one of them, 
Dame Feith Welbek, told the Commissioners that she 
wanted to be free from her bonds. I hope that she and 
more found good husbands afterwards. As the Monastery 
was in the centre of the town (p. 189), the St Mary's JSTuns 
had no fine dairy like their Sisters at Syon (Isle worth) : 
at any rate we find none of those interesting accounts of 
the Cellaress, saying how many bulls, cows, and calves, tlie 
Sisters had. Kpr are we given other Sy on-like returns 
from the Cellaress and Camarissa, telling us how much 
ginger and spice, thread, thimbles, and linen, &c., they 
bought yearly for the Convent's use (see Myroure of our 
Lady, E. E. Text Society, 1873^ Extra Series). 

ST MARY, WIKCHESTER, 14 May, L5371. 

Com) Southt.3 

Mo7^a.>terium ) ^^^ Cer[ti]ficatt of the Kinged Commys- 
b^ate Marie > sioners of the Compter of theyr procedinge^ 
y^'mtojiensis ) ^^^^^^ ^^ymo ^^^ ;j^aij Anno xxviij™^ H. 

viij"* [a.d. 1537]. 

' After copying this in the Record Office, T found it printed in 
the 2nd edition of Dugdale ; but as that's such a hig and dear 
book, and I want the document for Chaucer folk, I priiit this 
Survey accordingly; 

^ Page 2i. ^ County of Southampton, or Hampshire. 


Abhatia. heate \ ^Com) Southt. 

Marie Winto- J xhe Certificatt of James Worseley 

Sancti Bene- ( ^^'^^^- ^^^^ P^^^^** esquier, George 
d/cti, Yocate \ poulett esquier, Richard poulett & Wil- 
Mmchyns. / jj^jj^ Berners gent. Co??iinyssioners of owr 
Souerayne lord the Kinge, made of the Comptes of theyr 
procedinges & execuc^on of the Tenure of the Kinges 
Co?wmyssyon to theym in that behalf directed, with the 
articles therunto annexed, the xv daye of Maye in the 
xxviij*** yere of the Reigne of Kinge Henry the viij*^'^ 
as herafter ensuyth. 

^ Furst, Dame Elizabeth Shelley, Abbes there^ I'homas 
Lee, Auditowr, Thomas Legh Receyuot^r, and Thomas Tiche- 
boi^rne Gierke, sworne & examyned before the seid Com- 
myssioners tlie xiij daye of Maye, the seid yere, of & vpon 
the Conuersac^on of the Religious pe?'sons withm the 
same, and also of the astate & plight of the seid Mow- . 
astery, & tl\e value of the landes & possessions, Goode^, 
Catallis, & redy Money, Stokkes & Stores in the Fer- 
mowrs handes belonginge vnto the foreseid Mo?2astery, 
accordinge vnto the seid Instrucc^'ons, Gertefye as herafter 

^ They seyen & certefye that there be founden and 
dayly Resiaunt within the said Mo?? astery, at the Chargez 
& Costes of the same, Cij persons, Yiz : Religious pe/'sons 
.xxyj. Preeste.§ .v. leye Sisters by ^Qundac^on ,xiij. 
Wymen sernaimtes ix. Officers of houshold & way tinge 
sernauntes xx. ^^Q^odyers iij. & Ghildern .xxvj. whose 
names doo ensue. .. ., 

(^ Item they seyen that the seid Religious persons 
haue bene, & been, of very Clene vertuous honest & 
Charitable Conversac?!on order & Rule, sythen the furst 
profession of theym, which is also Reported, not oonly by 

^ Page 26. ^ Holders of a corody or pension. 


tlie Mayowr & Comynaltye of the Gitye of Winchester, bntt 
also by the most worshipfutt & honest persons of the 
Contre adioynynge therunto, which haue day lye made con- 
tynuall sute vnto the seid Commyssioners to be Siieters 
vnto the Kinges highnes for ToUeraczon of the seid Mo7i- 
astery. ^' 

(^ Item the seid Mo?zastery is in very good astate of 
Eeparac^qn, & standith nigh the Middell of the Citye, of a 
great & large Compasse, envyroned. with many poore 
honsholde^ which haue theyr oonly lynynge of the seid 
MoTzastery, And fiaiie no demaynes wherby they may make 
any prouysion, butt lyue oonly by theyr lander, making 
theyr prouysion in the markettes 

^^ Item they Certefye the seid Monastery & Re- 
ligious persons to be Clere oute of Dette 

(^ Item the Conuente Scale is putte in a purse sealed 
with the Scale of Eichard poullett esquier, locked in a 
Cootfer with iij lockes, which Cooffer Eemayneth in the 
Custody of the seid Abbes & ij other of the Chieff 
Gouernours of the seid Monastery. 

(^ Item all the Charters, Evidences, writingea & 
mynumentes concerynge the possessions of the seid Mon- 
astery bene in diue?-se Cooffers and Almeres within the 
house called the Tresory there. The Keyes wherof 
bene Co?^mytted to the Custody of the same Eichard 

^ Item the value of Ij ffoder db7iidiu7n^ 
of leade estemede to be vpon the Churche & 
oder houses of the seid MoT^astery, Cliiijli. xs. 
And of V great belles & oon litell Bell, estemed 
to be of weight xl.^ xxlb. xxviij li. ij s vj d. 

^ Ciiij ij li. 
xijs. vjd. 

Page 27. ^ 51| fotlier. A fother is 19 cwt— HalliweU,'^ 

'^ A hundred four-score and two pounds, £182. 


Cccciiij vjli. 
xiij s. vij d. 

(^ Item there ia an Inventory Indented ' 
made betwene the seid Co??^myssioners and 
the seid ladye Abbes, Thom^zs lee esquier 
& Thomas legh, of alle the luelles & plate 
CCClxxj li. xviij s. iiij d. 
Kedy money xv li. xiij s. viij d. 
Ornaments of the Church iiij ix li. x s. 
Dettes owinge to the house vj IL ij s. viij d. 
Stuife of houshold xxvij li. iij s. viij d. 
Graynes seuered Ij li. ix s. viij d. 
& Stokkes & Stores in the Fermowrs handes, 
CCCxxiiijli. xvs. vijd., Sauely to be kepte 
to the Kmges vse w/t/iout Consumpc/on or 
wastinge of theym or any pa?*te of theym 
oderwise thenne for the necessary Expensis 
of the house, & seruaz^ntes wages / estemed 
& valued to 

(ft Item there Eemayneth in the Ten- 
amites hande^', of the Eentes & Fermes due 
to the seid Mo?iastery at the Feast of Easter 
last passid 

^(Sb I^^^ there is Commaundement geuen by the seid 
Commyssioners to the seid Abbes & her Officers, that they, 
nor any for theym, or by GommsiUiidment of theym, doo 
Receyue any Eentes or Fermes of any theyr Fermowrs & 
Tenauntes vntill they knowe fferther the Kinge6^ pleasure, 
excepte it be for the necessary findinge of the houshold 
there, & payment of se7^\xauntes wagez. 

fft Item the value of the lander & ^, 
possessions belonginge to the seid Mo??- 
astery is made accordinge to the seid In- 
strucc/ons, which extendith to the Clere 
yerely value of 

(^ Item the leases & Indentures & g?'auhtes made by 
the Co???mon Seale of the seid Monastery bene parte en- 
* Page 28. ^ ^tiadrans, faFtlimg. 

xxiiij li. vj s. 
^ viij d. 

xviijs. vjd. q'^^ 


roll^(i, & residue, the Connterpartes of the seid Indentures 
& leases, bene putt in con box togider in the seid Tresory. 

(^ Item there belongyth to the seid Monastery in 
^ diuerse Mannowrs, woddes of diuerse ages, that is to sey, 
in Erehefount in Comite Wiltes', in gr^at woddes, by 
estimacioji C acres, vahied to be sold Cxxxiij li. vj s. viij d. 
In yonge woddes. there of xiiij yere^ growinge, xij acres 
valued at viij li. In Froyle in the Countye of Southaynptoiiy 
in great wodde xlvj acres, xlvj li. ; in yonge woddes vij acre, 
iiij li xvj s viij d. In Icchyn^, in Coni{^e Bouthampton, 
yonge wodde^ xxx acres, xiiij li. vij s. iiij d. And in 
Gratford in Comite lincoln, yonge woddes xxix acres, 
xxiiij li. xvj s. viij d. the value of all to be sold«, by 
estimacion CCxxxj li. vij s. iiij d. 

(^ Item there bene no manner leases nor grauntes 
made to any pe?'son, vnder the Conuent Seale of the seid 
Mo?zastery, sithen the iiij*^ Daye of February, Aniio xxvj'** 
Hegis HemHei viij'*', butt oonly oon Indenture made vnto 
Edward Shelley; of the Majinour of Allcannynges in Comite 
Wiltes', and theyr Mille & Medowe belonginge to the same, 
From the Feast of Seint MicheH tharchawngell which 
shalbe in the yere of our lord God MDliiij. vnto thende 
& Terme of xP' yeres, Yeldinge & payinge yerely .xxvj li 
vjs. viij d., beringe date the xx daye of October in the 
xxvij yere of the seid Kinge. 

^rub l^em they Certefye that there is noo husbondry 
kepte to thuse of the seid house wherby any Co?7^maunde- 
ment shulde be geuen for contynuaunce therof. 

[Dwellers in the Monastery. ^^ 

3Monasterium\ ^m^t, Dame Elizabeth Shelley, Abbes 
Beate Marie \ 
Wintone?^^' ) ^^^^^• 

Item there bene in the same ^ r p^-^fessed xxli 

Monastery Eeligious personer% !- xxvj, viz < 
professed, & not professed J I ^ouesses iiij. 

» Itxjhen. 2 Page 29. ^ Page 30. 


Dame Elizabeth Shelley, Abbes 
Dame Agnes Marsham, priores 
Dame Agnes Bachecrofte, snb- 

Dame Margarette lee, Sexten. 
l)ame Edburge Stratford 
Dame Maude Brune 
Dame Elizabeth Wynettes 
Dame Margarett Sellewod 
Dame Cristian CufF 
Dame Maude Eldrege 
Dame Thomasyn Middelton 
Dame Anne Mundye 
Dame Jane Wayte 
Dame Johanne Erye 
Dame Anne Gygges 
Dame Margery Percher 
Dame Margarett Shelley 
Dame Feith Welbek 
Dame Cisselie Gaynesford 
Dame Johanne Gaynesford 
Dame Johanne Eyere 
Dame Mary Marten 

Jane Morton 
Dorathe Eingellod 
Anne lidford 
Johanne Eidford 

^The Cliapeleyns of the sayd^ Monastery 

Mr John hasard^, confessor 1, 
sir John hylton 
s^V Walter Bayly 
sir Walter Dashewod 
sir Wyll/am Orton 
^ Page ai. 

AH which Eeli- 
gious persons, & 
euery of theym, en- . 
tende to kepe theyr 
habite & Eeligion,: 
To what house Ee- 
ligious so ewer they 
shalbe ,co?Hmytted 
by the 'Kinges high- 
nes / Dame Feith 
Welbek iDonly ex 
cepted, which desir- 
eth, Eather thenne 
to be commytted to 
any odor house, to. 
haue Capacite. 


The pore Systers of the saycJ Monastery 

Agnes Kyng 
Kateryne Argentyne 
lohanne Johnson 
Margaret Wayte 
Alys parkar 
Agnes Beale 

Agnes Garnesey > xiij. 

Agnes Kason 
Johanne Bowyere 
Alys Johnson ' 
Alys hawkyn 
Anne Fulborne 
, Clare Bowyere 

Wynimen semauntes of the sayd? Monastery 

Jane Sherley, the Abbas gentyllwoman 
Isold? Salter, serviaunt to the sayd? Abbas 
Agnes Cosyn, the priores s^ruaz^nt yn her howse 
Agnes Baker, the subpriores serxxaunt yn her howse 
Alys Johnson, seruaitnt to the sexten yn her howse . 
Alys Trowte, serummt to dame Mawde Bruyiie yn 

her howse 
Alys strong, the Abbas lavender 

}B e erey lavenders for the Covent 
lohanne Gierke j . 

The offycers & Qerviauntes resydent and abydyng^^pon the 
sayd? Monastery 

Thomas Legh, general! Eeceyver 

Thomas Tycheborne, Gierke 

[Rychard. Chekley, Ysher, mvssi out] 

Lawrens Bakon, Curtyar 

George Sponder, Gater [4] 

WylKam Lime, Botyler 

Rychard Bulbery, Goke 

John Gierke, Yndercoke 

Richard Gefferey, Baker [8] 

May WednaH, covent Goke 

John Wener, vndercovent Goke 

John hatmaker, Bruer 

194 viT. THE rovNa ladies bbought up: in st maby's. 

WylKam harrys, Myller [12] 

Wyll^am Selwoct, porter 

Eobert Gierke, vnde7*porter 

WjUiam plattyng, porter . of Estgate [15] 

Joliii Corte 

henry beale 

Peter Tycheborne, Chyld of the hygh aulter 

Rychard harrold semaunt to the recey ver 

John Serle sernauiit to the Gierke [20] 


l^Girls educating in the Monaster i/.^ 

^Bryget plantagenet, dowghter vnto the lord? vycounte 

IVfary Pole, dowghter vnto s^V Gefferey pole, knyght 
Brygget Coppely, dowghter vnto s^V Eoger Coppeky, 

knyght _ ' 

Elizabeth phyllpot, dowghter vnto s^V peter phyllpot, 

Margery Tyrreft "^ 

Adryan Tyrrell 
Johanne Barnabe 
Amy Dyngley 
Elizabeth Dyngley 
Jane Dyngley 
Erance^<? Dyngley 
Susan Tycheborne 
Elizabeth Tycheborne 
Mary lustyce 
Agnes Aylmer 
Emme Bartne 
Myldrec? Gierke 
Anne Lacy 
Isold? Apiilgate 
Elizabeth Legh 
Mary legh 
> Alienor Merth 
Johanne Sturgys^ 
Johanne Fylder 
Johanne FranciV 
Jane Eaynysford^ 

r Thomas legh ] 
Corodiers < John lichfeld > iij 
t Kichard Jeckeley J 

'' Page 82. 


Ghyldren of lordys 
y knyghttes and? gentyl- 
men browght vp yn the 


[iMge 34 : ^. 33 is bJcmlc] 
The names of ali the Woddes beloiigyng^ vnto all the 
nianers, Domynyoiis & lordshypps belongyng vnto the 
howse & Monastery off seynt Mar[i]es in Wynchester, in 
whatt lordsheppe & shere they doo lye, & by estymacion 
what noniber of acres they conteyne, and of whatt groythe 
& age they be of, as ney as ytt can be estemed. 
■p 1^ J? 1.1. ^ Item a wodde Called^ ^ Croke wodde,' ali of 
witJijn the I okes &; scrugge^, lyyng in commyne to the 
Countye of i tenauiites ther, conteynynge by estymacion, 
•^ a C acres, or theraboughts, veiy thyne sett : 

pn'ce the acre, xxvj s. viij d. Cxxxiij li. vj s. viij d. 

Item a nother lytell Coppys wodde called^ ^ foxeleyse,' 
lyyng seueraH ther, conteynyng by estymacton xij acres off 
xiiij yeres of age, thyne sete with lytell scrugge^, & of 
smale growethe : price the acre, xiij s. iiij d. viij li. 

Frovli' ^ ■'^^^^ ^ wodde called *yernhame,' beyng 

w?'t/iin the I seueraH, off grett bechys & oke, conteynyng 

Countye of i "by estymacyoii vj acres thyne sett, pn'ce the 

^ ^ acre, xx s. vj li. 

Item an other wodd ther, calle($ * scrubbecrist wodde,' 
of beche & oke, lyyng in seuerati to the ferme of the per- 
sonage, tonteynyng by estymaszon xx acres, thyne sett : 
price the acre, xx s. xx li. 

Item an other wodde there called^ 'stoweH,' of beche 
& scrugge^, beyng very thyne of wodde, lyyng to the per- 
sonage in seueraii', conteynyng by estjrmas^/on iiij acres : 
pn'ce the acre, to be sold, xvj s. viij d. Ixvj s. viij d. 

Item a wodd^ called^ ^ pollycnmbe,* lyyng in commen; of 
beche & oke, contynyng by estymac^on xx acres thyne sett : 
p?•^ce the acre, *to be sold, xx s. xx li. 

Item a lytylj grownd^ of wodde called? * penley,' off oke, 
lyynge in seueraii to Isynghurst, co7iteynyng by estymacion 
iii acres off yonge wodde, lyteil worthe : pn'ce the acre, to 
be sold, X s. xxx s. 


196 VII. WOODS, etc;, B^L0N€HNG to ST. MARY's, WINCHESTEIl. 

[page 35.] Comitatus Lincoln? e. 

Grattford ^ "^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^' ^^^^^ ^ ^^^^^1 
in. the I ^V^^ i^ seu^rall, of diners ages, 

connte jthe eldest of x yeres age, thin 

sett w/tA small scrobed okes & 

r acres xxv 

' 1 argent xx li. 
[vjs. Yiijd. 

acres xvj 

argent x li. 
xiij s. iiij d. 

other E-untes, couteynyng xxv acres — price 
the acre, xvj s. viij d. 

A seuerall wode called the 'Lawnde'') f .... 

II acres luf 
thin sett with bosches & some tymbre, con- > < 
. .... • i.1 I argent iiivli. 

ieynyng uij acres : price the acre, xx s. J L 

Comitatus ^Viihampionie, 

Itchy n within the Ther be iij ^euer- -j 

CounteofSouthcwTipto^ all copeses lying 
in seuerall in a grounde called * Shrouner,' 
wherof one is x yers age, of small growth, 
thin sett with gret wode, conteynyiig xy^ 
acres — ^price the acre, xiij s. iiij d. J I 

A nother copes thin sett with okes &^ f acres viii 
of small growth, v yers age, conteymjug > < 
viij acres — price the acre, viij s. J t argent Ixiiij s. 

A nother copes also thin sett with gret^ f acres vi 
wode & of smal growth, being iij yers age, > < 
couteynyng vj acres — price the acre, xxd.- J l^^o^^'' ^^' 

[page 42 : pp. 36 — 41 are hlanJc] 

Monasterium beate l Money remaynynge in the Tenauntes 
Marie Wmtonemis.j j^^^^^j^g ^^^ ^t the ffeast of the An- 

nunciacion of our Lady in the xxvij*:** yere of the Eeigne of 
Kynge Henry the eight. 
§ Furst, in thandes of William ISToyes, ^ 

ffermor of Ercheffounte, for his > viij li. vj s. viij d. 

V j 

fferme & parsonage J 

Item, in the handes of lohn Burdon, "j 
fermer of Cannynges j 

Snmma-7-xxiiij li, vj s. viij d. 









Introduction : Chaucer's chaff, and yet use, of Alliteration, 
p. 199—201. 

3 Reasons for Ms use (^Alliteration : 

1. His imitation of common folks' talk, p. 201 — 203. 

2. His sympathy with old manners and customs, p. 203. 

3. As an ornament to his verse, p. 203 — 206. 

SAMPLES OF Chaucer's alliteration: 

A. Words of the same root, p. 206 — 209. 

B. Words connected in meaning, p. 209 — 218. 

1. Concrete ideas belonging to the same sphere of life, 

p. 209— 212. 

2. Abstract ideas connected in a common sphere of 

life, p. 212—213. 

3. Words having internal likeness of meaning, p. 213 


4. Words of entirely opposite, meaning, p. 216 — 218. 

C. Words grammatically related, p. 218. 

1. Adjective and Substantive, p. 218 — 222. 

2. Yerb or Adjective and Adverb, p. 222—223. 

3. Subject and Predicate, p. 223—224. 

4. Predicate and Object, p. 224—226. 



I WAS induced to undertake the following investigation 
by reading an article by Professor K. Eegel, * Die Alliter- 
ation im Layamon/ which is published in the first volume 
of ' Germanistische Studien,' p. 171, ff. In this he shows 
to what a surprising exit^nt alliteration, the original German 
manner of versifying, is retained' in Layamon, long after 
the law of rhyme had been in use among the German 
nations. I will in this essay attempt to show that alliter- 
ation reaches to a later date,^ that it is to be found in the 
poems of Chaucer, and to a greater extent than we should 
have expected. 

I believe an investigation like this has not been under- 
taken till now, since the oft-quoted statement of Chaucer 
in the prologue to the *Persones Tale' seemed opposed to 
it. 2 This statement in which Chaucer says that alliterative 
metre was not within the range of a southern man (comp. 
verse 17353, ff.) runs thus : 

" But trusteth wel, I am a sotherne man, 
I cannot geste rom, ram, ruf by letter, 
And God wote, rime hold I but litel better." 

!N'ow, if we did not know that Chaucer was possessed of 
the gift of humour, and that he was also continually chaff- 
ing his own poetry, we should plead that he, in these verses, 
is not speaking himself, but that these words are only the 
* Persones,' who says that, being unacquainted with either 

* It of course exists, more or less, in the whole range of English 
poetry, and is freely used by Gower, and Chaucer's other contem- 
poraries and successors. " Alliteration's artful aid " has always 
been too great a help to the charms of poetry, to allow of its being 
neglected by writers of verse. 

^ See an essay on alliterative poetry by the Eev. W. W. Skeat, 
in vol. iii. of Bishop Percy's Folio MS., Ballads and Romances. 


alliteration or rliyme, he therefore intends to ,tell his tale in 
prose. And we should argue that if the poet said, referring 
to himseK, that he 'holds rime hut litel hetter/ all his 
poems prove the contrary; while there is no ohjection what- 
ever to attributing these wor^is to the Parson, who indeed 
at that time may not have been able to write verses. But 
knowing Chaucer's sly humour as we do, and recollecting 
some of the other places in which like statements are made 
about himself and, his poetry and knowledge,' we cannot 
get out of the conclusion, that Chaucer, in the lines above, 
while he meant to make an excuse for giving the Parson a 
prose tale, also meant to chaff the old stiff alliterative poetry, 
as well as his own rymes (whose ease and grace were such 
a contrast to the former's roughness and clumsiness), just 
as in the * Eime of Sire Thopas,' which is intentionally so 
bad,2 he was parodying the balderdash into which the 
minstrels and rymers of his day had degraded the old Eo- 
mances, those Eomances which even Shakspere praised.^ 

' Compare in the * Man of Lawes Prologue : ' 

" I can right now no thrifty tale sain, 4466 

But Chaucer (though he can but lewedly 
On metres and on riming craftily) 
Hath said them, in swiche English as he can 
Of olde time," etc. 
"Butnatheles .... 4516 

I speke in prose and let him rimes make." 
We know that in spite of the last verse the ' Man of Lawes Tale ' is 
not told in prose, but in verse. 

In another place, ver. 11578 in the * Frankeleines Tale,' he says, 
as almost in the Hous of Fame : 

" I can no termes of Astrologie." 
But not only this tale, but many others contain such ajmiltitu^e 
of astrological expressions, and show such a knowledge of tlie 
science, that they prove just the contrary. 
'^ The host exclaims, ver. 13858 : 

" Thy drasty riming is not worth a tord ; 
Thou doest nought elles but dispendest time. 
Sire, at o word, thou shalt no lenger rime," 

When in the chronicle of wasted time 

I see descriptions of the fairest wights, 
And beauty making beautiful old rhyme, 

In praise of ladies dead, and lovely knights, 
Then, in the blazon of sweet beauty's best, 
Of hand, of foot, of lip, of eye, of brow. 


But because Chaucer made fun of the rom-ram-ruf 

poetry, that was no reason why he should not make use, 

judicious use, of the power, the gratefulness to the ear, the 

old-friend's- voice tones, that alliteration lends to verse. And 

we shall see that Chaucer has indeed made frequent use of 

alliterative combinations, not only of such as are found in 

the old English language, but also of others made up of 

words of French origin. In Shakspere it is the same. He 

endeavours to make the use of alliterative rhyme ridiculous 

by usually placing it in the mouths of his comic characters ; 

for instance, Mids, Night's Dream, V. i. : 

" Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful blade, 
He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast." 

Or in Love's L, L., lY. ii. 58 : "I will something affect the 
letter, for it argues facility : The preyful princess pierced 
and prickt a pretty pleasing pricket." 

And yet how many alliterative verses and combinations 
are to be found in Shakspere. See a very interesting 
article on this subject, * Die Alliteration im Englischen 
vor und bei Shakspere,' by Rector Dr K. Seitz in the 
programme of the ' Marne Hoheren Biirgerschule,' Easter, 
1875, to whom I am indebted for most of the parallels I 
quote from Shakspere. 

I will now endeavour to point out the reasons which 
made Chaucer often revert to alliteration. Our poet was a 
man who, from his manner of life, had sufficient oppor- 
tunities of observing people of all classes. With what 
avidity he seized these opportunities, and borrowed from 
every condition its especial peculiarities, is shown in his 
' Canterbury Tales.' Every character of them is a type of 

I see their antique pen would have express'd 
Even such a beauty as you master now. 

So all their praises are but prophecies 
Of this our time, all you prefiguring ; 

And for they look'd but with divining eyes, 
They had not skill enough your worth to sing : 

For we, which now behold these present days, 

Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise. 


its class. . 'Not only does lie depict their outward appear- 
ance, their thoughts and feehngs^ but makes them speak 
the language of iheir class. I do not mean, of course, that 
Chaucer produces examples of the peculiar dialects then 
spoken in England; only rarely do we find proofs of 
dialect; for example, in the ' Eeeves Tale,' where Chaucer 
puts the forms 'makes/ * fares,' 4021 ; 'findes,* 'hringes,' 
'says,'. 'Tis,' 4084, 4200, 4237; 'thou is,' 4087, etc., 
into the mouths of persons from Cambridge. But the 
tales of the lower classes are composed in a popular tone 
and in the popular language, and the stories of higher 
situated persons are written in a loftier style and nobler 
language. Certainly at that time the feeling for and the 
pleasure in alliteration was preserved by the people to a 
far greater extent than at the present, when many of the 
old forms then in common use are lost. If Chaucer 
endeavoured to imitate the people's style he was almost 
compelled to admit into his poems alliterative forms and 
combinations. In the tales of persons of higher rank this 
was not in the same degree necessary, as they, being for 
the most part either of !N"orman descent, or brought up in 
the use of !N"orman customs and opinions, paid but little 
heed to the form and contents of the old English poems ; 
while the lower classes, for the most part of Saxon descent, 
preserved faithfully the songs which told of the great deeds 
of their forefathers, and with them the tendency to alliter- 
ation. Compare Geoffrey Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales,' 
translated into German by Wilhelm Hertzberg, Hildburg- 
hausen, 1866, p. 45: "But just at Chaucer's time the 
original form of the Anglo-Saxon verse with alliteration 
became popular again amongst the lower classes through 
' Piers Ploughman's Vision,' and other similar poems of a 
religious tendency." 

Now, Chaucer held for many years the post of Con- 
troller of the Customs in the port of London — a duty which, 
as his appointment testifies, he was obliged to fulfil per- 


sonally, and wliich lie might not perform by deputy. The 
poet was called to this office on the 8th of June, 1374, and 
only on the 17th of February, 1386, did he' receive per- 
mission to exercise his control of customs by deputy. 
During this long time he certainly had daily opportunities 
of studying and observing the language of the people. 
Being a man of unusually quick observation, he ma3e use 
of his varied experience. The fruit of his study of the 
world and of men is exhibited in his ' Canterbury Tales.' 

The imitation of the language of the people was there- 
fore one reason for the poet to revive alliteration. To this 
may be added a second, — ^his sympathy with old custoiijis 
and manners ; this is visible in all his tales. The character 
of the Anglo-Saxon seems not to be quite lost in Chaucer^s 
poems. See * Hertzberg,' p. 53 : "It is almost as if his 
Anglo-Saxon nature (which we recognize in his preference 
for the hard-handed son of the people) wished to avenge 
itself on the French culture in him, by mixing blunt, 
peasant wit with the refined character of the court." So 
we may conclude, with tolerable certainty, that he had a 
strong natural inclination for the old alliterative forms, 
which was perhaps unknown to himself. We observe how 
he reverts to alliteration in depicting camp scenes and 
strong emotions, and often produces the most glorious 
effects by this mixture of alliteration and rhyme. 

The third reason for Chaucer's use of alHterative forms 
is to ornament his verses, and to make them more striking. 
The national character at this time was rather inclined to 
find peculiar pleasure in artificial verses, and therefore the 
poet frequently made use of alliteration for rhythmical 
painting, which was highly prized by the art-poets of that 
time. This is also shown by the many onomatopoetic 
verses in the * Canterbury Tales,' of which I am going to 
quote a few. In the verses 170 and 171 we can clearly 
' hear the sound of the bells on the bridle of the monk's 
horse : 


" . . . i men might his bridel here 
Gingling in a whistling wind as clere 
And eke as loud as doth a chapel belle." 

The description of the sound of church bells, conip. ver.. 

3655 : 

" Tin that the belles of laudes gan to ringei" 

In the verses 2339-2340— 

" And as it queinte it made a whisteling 
As don these brondes wet in hir brenning," 

we can plainly hear the hissing of the burning wood. 

Similar to the well-known onomatopoetical verse in the 
beginning of the ' Iliad;' the rattling of the arrows in the 
quiver of Apollo is described, ver. 2360 : 

" . , . . the armes in the cas 
Of the goddesse clatteren fast and ring." 

Other vei'ses of this kind are ; 

2434 ; "And with that sound he heard a murmuring 

Ful low and dim . , . ." 
2602 : "Now ringen trompes loud and clariouii." 
4099 : " With kepe kepe ; stand stand ; jossa warderers." 
2607 : " Ther shiveren shaftes upon sheldes thicke." 
2693 : " His brest tobrosten with his sadel bon." 

These few hastily-selected examples are sufficient for 
our purpose. The two last verses are especially important, 
as they are both onomatopoetic and alliterative. 

These are the reasons which probably induced Chaucer 
to employ alliterative forms and combinations. The same 
tras the case with Chaucer's contemporaries on the con- 
tinent. In Middle High German the poets also made 
frequent use of alliteration ; compare Ignaz von Zingerle : 
* pie Alliteration bei mittelhochdeutschen Dichtern/ Wien, 
1864; and Ferdinand Yetter : 'Zum Muspilli und zur 
germanischen Alliterations poesie,' Wien, 1872. 

What Eegel says of Layamon, that he shows his 
pleasure in similar sounds by his tendency to repeat several 
words at the beginning of successive verses, is true of 
Chaucer also. Here, too, I will limit myself to a few out 
of the great number of examples which at once strike one 


wbeii reading — 

404 : "His stremes and his dangers him besides 

His herbergh and his mone, his lodemenage/' 
983 : " Thus ryt this duke, thus ryt this conquerour," 
1872 : « Who looketh lightly now but Palamon ? 

Who springeth up for joye but Arcite ? 

Who coud it tell, or who coud it endite . , /' 
2275 : " Up roos the sonne and up roos Emelye.'' 
2573 : " And after rood the queen and Emelye, 

And after hem of ladyes another companye, 

And after hem of comunes after her degre." 
2775 : "Alas the deth ! alas min Emelye ! 

Alas departing of our company e ! 

Alas min hertes queue ! alas my wif ! " 

We may compare with, this vers. 590 — 592, 2927-60, 
11458-61, etc. To the poet's lively joy in similar sounds 
his plays upon words also bear testimony ; 

7289 : " God save you alle mve this cursed frere." 
10419 : " Al be it that I can nat sowne his style, 

Ne can nat clymben over so heigh a style" 
10569 : "And yit is glas nought like alsshen ovferne 

But for they ban yknowen it so feme," 
11035 : " Colours ne know I none withouten drede 

But swiche colours as growen in the mede." 

To these may he added the repetition of certain forms of 
sentences which the poet frequently uses with epic skill : 
'Still as eny stoon,' 3472, 7997, 10485 (compare Shak- 
spere, King John, lY. i., * I will not struggle, I will stand 
stone-still ;' Lucretia : * Stone-still astonished '); ' domh as 
eny stoon/ 776 ; * deed as eny stoon,' 10788 ; * wel I wot/ 
*thou wost,' 'you wote,' 742, 773, 5609, 11008, 11284, 
11311, 11353, 12246, 12720, etc.; 'now wol I stint/ 
1336, 2481, 11126; 'If you lest, as him list,' etc., 
10919, 11163, 11353, 13975, etc.; 'I undertake,' 3532, 
3541, 3577, 14332, etc.; 'aU so mote I the,' 5943, 6114, 
6797, 6853, 9102, 12243, 13747, 14982; 'wala wa/ 
3714, 4070, 4111, 4790, 5052, 5230, 5798, 6640. Here, 
too, these few examples may suf&ce, as they only indirectly 
hear on our subject. 

After this introduction, which is intended to show how 
the T3oet was induced to introduce alliterative comhinations 


in his * Canterbury Tales/ and liow much he was inclined 
to use frequently the same words without considering 
alliteration, J now give the alliterative combinations which 
occur in his most renowned poem. 

In the following classification I follow scrupulously in 
Eegel's foot-steps. He treats the alliterative combinations 
in a threefold manner. He considers the relations in 
which the alliterative words stand to each other etymolo^ 
-gically, according to their meaning, and grammatically. 
This classification will meet our purpose. We come, then, 
first to the case in which 

Compare Regel, p. 178. 

1. Armed in armes, 15853. 

2. Bathed in a hath, 6836. In Anglo-Saxon we meet 
with the same connection. Comp. Grein, 'Anglo-Saxon 
Poets,' vol. iii. ; " Twelf st^um hine beba^a^ and symle 
swa oft of ]?^m wyllgespryngum brimcald teorge^ at ba^a 
gehwam," Ph. 110. 

3. Bvond hrenning, 2340. In Layamon (see Regel, 
p. 178), 'lete bi-leuen fine brune,' 'his lond fe fu for 
baernest,' 8255-56; 'J?a burh bom alle niht,' 'Jje brune 
wes vnimete,' 29307-8. In Anglo-Sax., ^baeron brandas 
on bryne blacan fyres,' Daniel, 246. In Old Priesic, ' berna 
brond;' cf. Richthofen, 670, 671, and Moritz Heyne : 
'Formulae alliterantes ex antiquis legibus lingua Prisica 
conscriptis extractse et cum aliis dialectis coniparatge,* 
Halle, 1864, p. 7, 'Eo. 13; 'mith ene bernande bronde,' 
31, 11, Leg. Riistringens ; ' mith eine bernanfie bronde,' 
76, 27, Leges Emsigens. 

4. Clothed in clothes, 16025; 'clad in clothes,' 901. 

5. To die the death, 5012; 'dey on shames deth,' 
5238 ; ' die of deth,' 11322. A similar phrase in Layamon, 
Regel, p. 179: 'fat no mihte fat folc burien fa dede,* 
'swi^e heo gunnen dege,' 31837-38; 'fer deigede fe 


quike uppen fen dede/ 31841-42; * in Eouerwicke lie 
daeide,' ^lier fe king wes ded,' 8987-88; comp. Middle 
High-German Diction., 3, 62'' : ' mit - dem tode teun.' 
In Shakspexe we find the same combination : 'to die the 
death,' Cymhel., TV, ii. ; Mids. N, Dream, I. i. ; * Death 
and deadly night,' Henry IV., part 1, III. iv. 

6. To do a dedt, 16815. In Shakspere, Ijove's Lab, L., 
III. i., the same. 

7. To draw a draught, 398. Corip. 1. 4 : * to drink a 

8. Give giftes, 2737, 12082. Comp. Matt. vii. 11 : 

* to give good gifts.' 

9. Hasty hast, 3545. 

10. Kneel on Tcnees, 8063. 

11. Live a life, 8363, 9160, 9320, 12714. In Laja^ 
mon, Regel, p. 181, *buten he libben wolde his hf in 
fraldome,' 29385-86; *])iis }ju miht libben a ])in lif,' 
31697 ; * swa Jju miht on line libben aire saelest,' 15452-53 ; 
in Anglo-Sax., * lif alibban,' Dernes dag, 63 ; * on life 
lifian/ Ps. Ixii. 3. In Old Norse, ' lif a fena^ar lifi-pucadiim^ 
more vivere,' Egilss. 516^ Comp. M. H. German, *leben 
verleben ; lebendez leben,' M. H. G. Diction., I. 955. 

12. Lernen lo^e, 12004; ' lerning of this lore,' 16310 ; 

* lerned in this lore,' 5181 ; 'lerned men in lore/ 12908. 

13. Manly man, 167. 

14. Bend a sonde, 4808. In Layamon this combina- 
tion occurs very frequently ; comp. Eegel, p. 181 : * Hum- 
bald sende sonde,' 11726, 9940, 12467, 12744, 14902, 
23439; 'send fine sonde,^ 14486-87; 'sende his sonde,' 
1 7007-8 ; ' larrais nom his sonde and sende 3eond fisse 
londe,' 10564-65; 'nomen senne sondes-mon and senden 
toward Lunden,' 13595-96. The Angl.-Sax. subst. masc. 
' sond ' = ' nuntius ' is never connected with ' sendan,' and 
we find only ' sendan bodan ' in Old Norse : ' senda bo^,' 
Egilss., 7 P. In Old Eriesic : ' senda boda,' Richthofen, 


15. Servant to serve, 15887. 

16. Se6 a sight, 2118, 2335, 2656 in the edition of 
the Eev. Eichard Morris, LL.D., Clarendon Press, as 
^vell as in the edition of Eobert Bell. I prefer reading in 
this place, * And whan that Theseus hadde seen this sighte,' 
to, * hadde seen this fight,' as the Eoutledge edition has it. 
In Layamon, 4seon siht ;' comp, Eegel,p. 183 : 'heo li^en 
after v'Sen, fat nsenne siht of londe iseon -heo ne 
mahten,' 20929-30 ; ' wa was heorn on heorte fo hii siht 
ise3en,' 5724-25. In Angl.-Sax., 'he sume gesyh^e geseah,' 
JiUC. i. 22. Middle H. Gr., *alse wunneclich ist dm 
gesiht, die man an gote siht ;' * sach in einer gesihte,' 
M. H. a Diet., 2% 283^ In Old N^orse, ^ sja s/n, sja 
sjonum oculis adspicere,' Egilss.j 7 IP. 

17- Biftinasive, 16408, 

18. Singe a song, 13514 ; Svhan that song was songe,' 
718 ; *the songes that the Muses songe,' 9609.. In Anglo- 
Saxon, ' SingaS us ymnum ealdra sanga,' Ps. cxxxvi. 4 ; 

* Singa^ him neoone sang,' Ps. cxlix. 1 ; see also Ps. xcv. 1. 

* On sangum singan dryhtne,' Ps. cxxxvii. 5. 

19. Tell a tale. Very frequently, for . instance, 737, 
794, 833, 892, 3111, 4454, 10320, 10482, 11009, 13636, 
13775, 13894, 13931, etc. etc. In Layamon, ' tellen tale ;' 
comp. Eegel, p. 184 : ' Jja pe talen weoren aUe italde,' 
262.17; 'pa hauweres talden al heore tale,' 26880. This 
combination is nowhere met with either in Anglo-Sax. or 
Old Saxon, or Old Friesic, or in the Old ISTorse idiom, 
although both the substantive and the verb are current in 
aU these idioms. In M. H. German both words are some- 
times repeated, comp. M. H. G. Diet., 3, 842% 'als6 ich 
diu buoch hoere zelen, so wurde diu zala minneclich;' 
compare- also Gottfried's 'Tristan,* 651 3^ This phrase 
is to be found in Shakspere, Tempest, Y. i., '^ to tell tales, 
as well as in modern times, though the meaning of it has 
been altered. The substantive 'tell-tale' in Shakspere's 
Merry Wives, I. iv., ' he is no tellrtale I wa^a/nt you,' is 


used also now-a-days^ Sliakspere employs it sometimes. as 
an attribute, Richard III,, IT. iv., * Let not the heavens 
hear these teU-tale women.' 

20. Wirclien w€7% 3308; * his wicked werkes that he 
had wrought,' 5414; * wrought this werk/ 11184. In 
Xayamon, * wurchen werk,' comp. Eegel, p. 185 ; * he Jjohte 
wurche fer a werk,' 16971 ; 'fe while he wurchen lette an 
werk swi^e riche/ 27856 ; * godes werk to worchen/ 
32042-43; 'godes workes wurchen/ 24961-62; * sca^e 
werk wurchen/ 1547. In Anglo-Saxon, *weorc wyrcean,' 
Ps. Ixxxv. 7, 8 ; * wyrhta wyrcean,' Ps. c. 8 ; ^ wyrhta, 
weorc,' Crist. 2, 3. In M. H. German, ' oh gedanke wurken 
sulen diu we^-c ' (Parz.), ^ tugentliche were wirken,* M. H. 
G. Diet. 3, 59 P. There is not the combination * vaurkjan 
gavaurki' in Meso-Goth., but *vaurkjan vaursto,' Mark 
xiv. 6; John xvii. 4; 1 Cor. xvi. 10. 

21. Wounded loitli woundes^ * Tale of Melibeus/ 
p. 347, Eoutledge ed. 

Let us now quit this purely external side of the 
question, that words of the same root adjoin each other, and 
are alliterative in the nature of things, and turn to 


(1.) Concrete ideas are joined together because they naturally 
belong to the same sphere of life. Comp. Eegel, p. 186. 

1. Bestes, hriddes ; * Bestes ne no briddes,' 8448; 'as 
a bird or as a beste/ 9157 ; * or brid or best,' 9739 ; * no 
brid ne best,' 10774 ; ' ne brid ne best,' 11186 ; * bestes and 
briddes,' 14887. Compare Shakspere, Titus Andronicus, 
Y. iii. ; Julius Ccesar, I. iii. 

2. Blood, hraun, hones ; * of braun and eke of bones,' 
548; 'of braunes and of bones,' 13947; 'by blood and 
bones,' 3127; 'bothe blood and bones,' 15433. Compare 
Shakspere, Richard II., III. iii., 'blood and bone.' 


3. Domhe aiid deve, 15754. In Anglo-Saxon, 'deaf, 
dumb,' Seel. 65 ; ' deafne, dumban,' Ea. 50, 2 ; ' deafra, 
dumbra,' Sal. 78; 'deafum, dumbum,' Ful. 150. Comp. 
Shakspere, Tit. Andr., II. i., * deaf and dull ; ' and Henry 
VI., part 2, III. ii., ' dumb-deaf.' * 

4- FlesTi, fish : ' Of fish and flesb,' 346 ; ' Old fish and 
yonge flesh wold I have fain,' 9292. In Layamon, ' fisc 
and flaesc ;' comp. Kegel, p. 186 : 'ne cume^ nauere inne 
ure disc neofer flaes na no fisc,' 19692-93. In M. H. G., 

* ez waere vleisch oder visch — vleisch unde viske — vleisch 
niit den vischen,' comp. M. H. O. Diet., 3, 328^ In 
modern G-erman, * weder Fleisch noch Fisch,' comp. Gr. 
Diet., 3, 1680, 5. Also in Shakspere: Pericles, II. i., 
*Half fish half flesh;' Henry IV., part 1, III. iii., 

* neither fish nor flesh;' Comedy of Errors, III. i., * Flesh 
or fish;' Rom. and Jul., II. iv., '0 flesh, flesh how art 
thou fishified ! ' 

5. Hcd^ Tied: 'neither hood ne hat,' 3124; 'a hat 
upon his hed,' 6965. 

6. Hevy, liote : 'But if it be to hevy or to hote,' 7018. 
In Shakspere a similar phrase is found: Much Ado About 
N., II. i., ' hot and hasty.' 

7. Hont, liorn, liorse, liound, hauke : ' hors and hound es,* 
5867; 'to hauke and hunt,' 7957; 'with hunte and 
home and houndes,' 1678. Also to be found in Layamon, 
comp. Eegel, p. 189 : ' J?enne si3eS him to hontes vnder 
beor3en mid hornen, mid hunden,' 20854-55 ; ' nu he is 
becumen hunte and homes him fulieS; beorke^ his 
hundes,' 21337, 38, 40 ; ' hundes and hauekes,' 6975, 3299 ; 
^hunden, haueken,' 31403-4; 'mid horsan, and mid 
hundes,' 3275. In Old !N'orse, ' hauka eu hunda,' Grim- 
mismal, 44. In Anglo-Saxon, ' feah pe hae^stapa hundum 
geswenced heorot hornum trum holtwudu sece feorran 
gefljmed,' Beow. 1368-69. In M. H. G., 'daz horn und 
den hunt alsam,' Gottfr. Trist. 16662. In. Old Friesic, 
comp. M. Heyne, p. 31 : ' sa hwer sa en tichta lat w^rth 


fan harses hove tha fon ritheres home, tha fon hundes 
t6the tha fon hona itsile/ etc., 61, 27, Leg. Eiistring. ; 
also 60, 26, Leg. Emsig. ; 226, 31, Leg. Emsig. ; 227, 31, 
Leg. Emsig.; 420, 17, Leges Westergav. Compare also 
Shakspere, Tit Andr., L ii., 'with horn and hound;* the 
ssiJRe Passion. Pilgr. ix. ; Sonnets xcL, 'Some in their 
hawks and hounds, some in their house.' 

8. Lion and lepart, 2182 ; ' Cow and calf,' 15391. 

9. Maid, martyr, mother: *thou maide and mother,* 
15504; 'maid and martir,* 15496. 

10. Shaffes, sheldes, 2607. In Layamon, ' sceldes and 
scaftes;* comp. Eegel, p. 193: *mid scaeftes and mid 
sceldes,* 8128; ^scaeftes and gold-fa^e sceldes,* 9786-87; 
'scaftes and sceldes and longe heore sweordes,' 20915; 
^sceldes gonnen scanen, scaftes tobreken,* 28552-53. In 
Anglo-Saxon, 'hlyn wearS on ricum scylda and sceafta,' 
Genes. 2062 ; ' scyld scefte oncwy^,* Einsb. 7 ; ' scyld sceal 
cempan, sceaft reafere,* Vers. Gnom. Exon. 130; 'he 
sceaf fd jxnA f am scylde, fat se sceaft t6-barst,* Byrhtn. 
136. In Old iN'orse, 'skjoldu knegu^ far velja ok skafna 
aska,* Atlakv. 4. In M. H. G., 'sie neigten lif die 
scilde die scefte mit ir kraft,* Mbel. 183, 3. In Old 
Friesic, comp. M. Heyne, p. 24 : ' mit schied ende mit 
swird,* 388, 16, v. 441, 21, Leg. Westergavens. Compare 
also Shakspere, Henry F., III. ii., ' sword and shield.* 

11. Stile and ston, 13727. In Layamon, 'stock and 
stan;* the same combination also in Old Norse, Old 
Friesic, and M. H. G.; comp. Eegel, p. 194. 

12. Town, tour: ' toun and tour,* 7936, 10046 ; ' tonnes 
and toures,* 14377. 

13. Wind, wether, 5293. In Layamon, ' wind .and 
weder ;* compare Eegel, p. 195 : ' haue^ peos wind and Jjeos 
weder a wi^er him istonden,* 12059 ; ' peos wederes abiden, 
windes bidelde,* 28238-39 ; ' wind stond and pat weder 
after heore wille,* 20509. In Angl.-Sax., ' winter bringe^ 
weder ungemet cald, svifte windas,' Alfr. Metr. 11, 59, 60 ; 



' wedercandel sweart, windas weoxon, waegas grundoB,* 
Andr. 372, 373 ; , * fonne wind lige^, weder bi^ fagef/ 
Phon. 182. In Old Norse, 4 vindi skal vi^ hoggva, ve^ri 
a sio roa,' Havam. 81. In Old H. Gr., ' ther wint thaz scif 
fuar iagouti, thio undun bliventi, was in thrato herti thaz 
wetar in them ferti' (Ottfr.), Grff. 1, 629. In MT'H. G., 
^ guot weter unde guoten wint sin schepfer ini bescherte,' 
comp. M. H. G. Diet. 3, 609^ Compare also Shakspere : 
Tiv, Night, I. v., * wind and weather/ 

14. Wery, wet, 4105 : ' Wery and wet, as bestes in 
the rain.* 

(2.) In like manner abstract ideas are connected, because 
the conditions, deeds, and attributes indicated by them 
are usually consequent to or connected jwith each 
other, in the natural course of things, iii a common 
sphere of life, 

1. Hope, herte: * with hope and herte/ 1880. 

2. Legends, life: * I wol tell a legend and a lif,' 3143 ; 
^ he knew of them mo legendes and mo lives,' 6268. 

3. Lust, like: 'Lust and liking,V 6318 ; Must and 
peth,' 9886. 

^ 4. Monstre, mervaille : * swiche a monstre or mervaille,* 

5. Pore, pi'ie : ' he gan to pore and prie,' 7320 j ' he 
coude pore or prien,* 9986. 

6. Sentence, solas: 'Tales of best sentence and most 
solas,' 800. 

7. Bonce, shame, siJcnesse : ' his siknesse and his sorwe,' 
9884; * f or veray sorwe and shame,' 16170 ;-*sorwe have 
he and shame,' 16177. In Layamon this combination is 
not to be found, but in a similar sense : ' sare, sorge ; ' 
compare Eegel, p. 205 : * mid seorwen and mid score,* 
6885; 'Jjer wes sarinesse, sore3en ino3e,' 27560-61, etc. 
Also ' scome and sconde,' as in Angl.-Sax. : ' scand and 


sceamu,' Ps. Ixx. 12. In Sliakspere, Lucretia, we find 
connected, * sighs and sorrows.* 

8. Vilanie, nice : * they mighten do no vilanie or vice/ 
6720. In p] Shakspere, Titus Andron., II. i.^ Villainy 
and vengeance.' 

9. Ware, tvise, worthy: *ware and wise/ 311; Hhat 
was ful ware and wise/ 13295; 'bothe ware and wise/ 
13946; 'ful wise and worthy/ 5000; 'this worthy wise 
knight/ 11099. In Layamon, 'wis and war;' compare 
Regel, p. 210 : ' God cniht wis and war/ 26000 ; .similarly, 
7261, 7329, 8578, 17997, 18165, 26949. In Ornmliim, 
*be]} warre and wise,' 18313. In Anglo-Saxon, ' wes Jju 
giedda wis, war wi^ willan/ ¥ad. Larcv. 41, 42; 'warn 
mid wisdome,' Pvsalm cviii. 17, etc. 

:10. Werre, woundes : 'The open werre with woundes 
bebledde,' 2004. 

11. Werk, word, wo: 'he knew of all this wo and all 
this werk,' 1 1418 ; 'as preved by his wordes and his werk,' 
7904;- 'in word and werk/ 8043; 'in word or werke,' 
8736 ; 'in word ne werk,' 11297. 

(3.) More often it is not so much the collection of different 
ideas in an external cognate form, as their internal 
similarity of meaning which is the cause of their con- 
nection. Expressions resembling each other, or 
similar in sound, showing forth but slightly differing 
sides of the same idea, are connected by the bond of 
^alliteration in lively parallelism to enhance the im- 
portance of the collective idea ; comp. Regel, p. 201. 

1. Cle]pe,crie: 'what so men clap or crie,' 6433 ; 'ne 
elepe ne crie,' 3589. 

2. Gom]^layne, crie : ' that thus complaine and crie,' 

3. Clene, clere: ' as clene and eke as clere,' 12848. 

4. Dayes and duration, 2998. 


5. demen, devise: 'demen and devise,' 10575. There 
is in Layamon tlie similar phrase ; ' don, demen ; ' pomp. 
Eegel, p. 212. 

6. Dike, delve:. * and therto dike and delve,' 538. In 
Layamon, * delven die ; ' comp. Kegel, p. 236 : 'he bigon to 
deluen die swiSe miichele,* 14225-26; ^ heo letten deluen 
diches vnimete deope,* 9238 ; * ja f e die wes idoluen and 
allunge ideoped,' 15472. 

7. Drugge and drawe, 1418. In Old Friesic also, 
comp. M. Heyne, p. 10, 47: *th.a drlvanda and tha 
dreganda,' 123, 5; Leg. Eiistring. ; 'al thet ma driwa and 
drega mnge,' 164, 9, Leges Brokmannienses ; ' driwant and 
dregant g6d,' 165, 4, ibid,; *alle thet th^r ma drtwa and 
dregna muge,' 196, 13, Leg. Emsigens.; Mriweii ieftha 
dregen god,' 197, 24, ibid. The same^ Weistiimer, I. 
355 : * tryben noch tragen.' 

S. Faire, freissche, 23SS, 

9. God and governour, 11343. 

10. Governe and gie, 13026, 14707. 

11. Ire and iniquity^ 942. 

12. HaTcke and hewe, 2867. In Shakspere, Merry 
Wives, IV. i., * hick and hack.' 

13. Herde, hyne: 'ne herde ne other hine,' 605. 

14. Halke, heme: *in every halke and every heme,' 

15. Knotty, knarry, 1979. 

16. Lady, love: *my lady and my love,' 6812; 'his 
lady and his love,' 11108, 17167. 

17. Matrimoine or mariage, 3097. 

18. Mind, memorie: 'in the minde and iii^memorie of 
Mars,' 1908. 

19. Plat, plain, bare: 'tellen plat and plain,' 5306; 
* it mote be bare and plain,' 11032. 

20. Proineth and piketJi, 9885. 

21. Rape and renne, 16890, 

22. Rome or ride, 7994. 


23. Sike, sore: 'that dwelled in his herte sike and 
sore,' 2806. Comp. B. 2, ISTo. 7. 

24. Sterne and stoute, 2156. 

25* Stihhorne and strong^ 603S. In Layamon occurs a 
similar combination, ' strong and staerc,* which is also to 
be found in Anglo-Saxon, M. H. G-., and Modem German ; 
compare Eegel, p. 208. In Shakspere, Jul Ccesar^ I. ii., 
* stubborn and strange.' 

26. Soft, sotey stille : ' soft and sote,' 12477; * al stille. 
and soft,' 13134. 7^ 

27. Slepen, snoren^ 'he snprteth in his slepe,' 4161;. 
'he slepeth and he snoreth in his gise,' 5210. In Shak- 
spere, Merchant of Ven.^JI, v., 'sleep and snore*' 

28. Stvelte^ swete ; * that I swelte and swete,' 3703. 
In Layamon only 'swine and swaet ;' compare Eegel,^ 
p. 201. 

29. Swepe and sJiake, S854:, 

30. Swymhul, swough : * in which ther ran a swymbel 
in a swough,' 1981, in the edition of Eob. Bell, and in 
that of Morris. The Routledge edition has: 'ther ran a 
rombel and a swough.' 

31. Wane, wende: 'the greate tonnes see we wane and: 
wende,' 3027. 

32. Wepeth, ivaileth, 1223, 1297, 3618, 9089, 9255, 
9M6, 11131, 11428, 11660, 14549 ;' wepe, wringe and 
waille,' 9088. In Layamon 'wepen' is connected with 
' wanen,' as in Anglo-Sax. and M. H. G.; compare Eegel, 
p. 209. 

33. Wild, wood, 3517. In Layamon, ' wod and wild ; ' 
comp. Eegel, p. 211 ; * ne wur^e nan cniht swa wodr ne 
kempe swa wilde,' 8593-94 ; ' he wes wod, he wes wald,' 
13741. In Anglo-Sax., 'wedan sw^ wilde deor,' Julian. 
597,- Guthl. 879. In Modern German, .' in wilder Wi;th.' 

34. Wind and ivrapjpe^ 8459. 


(4.) As naturally as we have hitherto found similar and 
cognate ideas united according to the law of paral- 
lelism, we see in other cases the reverse in comhina- 
tions uniting words of entirely opposite meaning. 
Compare Kegel, p. 212. 

1. Dale^ doiin: * by dale and eke by doun,' 13725. 
In Layamon, ' dal, dune ; ' comp. Eegel, p. 212 : * )?a he com 
in ane dale under ane dune,' 27162-63; 'nu ich al fis 
kinelond sette in eower a3ene hoiid, dales and dunes,' 
21437; 'alle fa dales, alle pa dunes,' 27352-53; '3eond 
dales and 3eond dunes/ 20860; 'over dales and over 
dunes,' 21489; * of dalen and of dunen,' 21775. In 
OrmuL, ' wude and feld and dale and dun, all wass i waterr 
sunnkenn,' 14568 ; * nohhti dale ne uppo dun,' 13264. In 
Anglo-Saxon, * ne dene ne dalu ne dunscrafu,' Phon. 24. 

2. Foul, fuyr: *she wold no man seye for foule ne 
faire,' 4945; *al be it foule or faire,' 5184; 'thurgh foule 
or faire,' 10435. In Anglo-Saxon, *byrgenuni gelice, sed 
bi^ Utan fager and innan ful,' Ps. Th. I3^ In Shak- 
spere, * f air or foul,' Henry VI, , part 3, IV. vii., and 
Cymbeline., I. vii. ' Fair is foul and foul is fair,' Macb., I. 
i.; * fairing the foul with art's false borrowed face,' 
Bonnets cxxvii. 

3. Frend, fo: * who is your frend or fo,' 10450; 
* fortune was first a frend and sith a fo,' 14641. 

4. Humble, high : ' Thou humble and high over every 
creature,' 15507. I think this is an imitation of the com- 
bination 'he3e and haene' which we find in Layaihon; 
compare Eegel, p. 213: 'alle fa lie3e men „he hatede to 
dae^e and alle J?a haene mid harme he igraette,' 11096, 
98 ; 'fa haene swa hah mon,' 2565-66 ; ' riche men and 
haene, to hae3en fan king,' 19968-69. 

5. Leived, lered-: ' For be he lewed man or elles lered,' 
12217. In Layamon, 'laered, laewed;' compare Eegel, 
p. 213 : ' nes he naeuere iboren of nane cniht icoren, ilaered 
no laewed, a nauere nare leode,' 24625 ; ' quelen fa lareden, 


quelen fa leouweden,' 31829-30. In Ormiilum, 'he 
turrnde mikell folic till Godd 3a laewedd folic, 3a laeredd,' 
846 ; ' fatt laerede folic— lawedd folic/ 7440, 7442. 

6. Loth, lefe: 'al be him loth or lefe,' 1839; 'the. 
neighe slie maketh oft time the fer leef to be lothe/ 3393 ; 

' be hire lefe or loth/ 9835 ; ' for lefe ne loth/ 13062. In 
Layamoii, ' leof la^S ;^ compare Eegel, p. 213 : ' were him 
lef, were him la^/ 3036, 19998, 22877 ; ' cnihtes je beo=5 
me leofue, ah Jjas ti^ende me beo^ la^e,' 13941-42 ; 'lije 
Jjer, Jju la^e mon, leof pu beo fan sciicke,' 28724-25. In 
Anglo-Sax., 'ne le6f ne M'S,' Beow. 511 ; *le6fes and la^es,' 
Beov. 1061, 2910; 'wi^ leofne and wi^ laSne, leofum ge 
la^iim,' Crist. 847. In Old Saxon, 'the wi^ mi habbiad 
le^ -werk giduan, leobho drbhtin/ Hel. 3245 ; 's6 liof so 
le=S,\Hel. 1332 ; 'liof wi^ar iro le^e/ Hel. 1458. In Old 
Norse, ' Ijufr ver^r lei^r,' Havam. 34 ; ' opt sparir leiSum 
faz hefir Ijufum hugat,' Havam. 39. In M. H. German, 
*-liep Oder leit,' — 'Hep ane leit,' — 'liep unde leit/ — 'leit 
und liep,' — 'hiute liep, morne leit,* — 'liep mit leide,' — 
* liep naCh leide,'— -' nach Hebe leit,' — ' ein leit nach Hebe, 
ein liep nach leide,' M. H. G. Diet., 1. 1014. In Old Friesic, 
comp. M. Heyne, p. 19 : ' tha letha alsa tha liava,' 6, 9, 
Leges Hunsingavenses ; 'tha liava antha letha,' 6, 9, Leg. 

7. Queirde^ quiked : ' one of the fires queinte and quiked 
again,' 2336. In Layamon only, ' quellen-quic ; ' compare 
Eegel, p. 214. 

8. Save, spill, sleen : ' to chese whether she wold him 
save or spill,' 6480; 'ye may save or spill your owen 
thing,' 8379; 'with a word ye may me sleen or savB,' 

9. Bofl, sore : ' the fourthe stroke to smiten, soft or 
sore,' 15999. 

10. Stile, strete : ' I shal him seke by stile and eke by 
strete,' 12628. 

11. Wane, icexe : ' the mone that may wane and waxe,' 


11957. In Layaiilon, * waxen wonien;' compare Eegel, 
p. 216 : *heore uolc gon waxen and Bruttes gunnen 
wonien/ 26990-91 ; '^if heo wel wexit, heo wulle^ wonien 
us; 981-82. In Ormul. 1901-2, 18481, 83,/ wannsenn- 
waxenn.' In Angl.-Sax., 'wana'S and weaxe^.' In Old 
Eriesic, comp. M. Heyne, p. 27 : * nauder waxa ni w6nia,' 
164, 24, 27, Leg. Brokmaimiens. ; * nauder wdnnie ieftha 
waxa,' 208, 12, Leg. Emsig. ; *waxesat w6me,' 68, 5, Leg. 
Hunsingav. Compare also, * weder schwynen noch wacli- 
sen,* Weistiimer I. 66. 

12. Wele, wo : * for no wele ne for no wo,* 8847 j ' for 
wele or wo she *ill him not forsake,' 9166. In Anglo- 
Saxon, *welan and wawan,' Gen. 466. In Shakspere, 
Borneo and Jul,, III. ii. ; Henry VL, part 1, III. ii., the 
same ; Pericles', lY. iv., * woe and well-a-day.' 

Up to this point we have observed alliterative combina- 
tion from two sides,— etymologically, and according to the 
meaning of the words. Both their use together and their 
tendency to alliterative forms are explained by the roots or 
by the similarity of the meaning of the words. The case 
is the same if we investigate a third side, and consider. 


in which the alliterative words stand to each other. Espe- 
cially the repetition of alliterative forms is explained here, 
by the fact that such word-combinations were continually 
solidifying under the influence of grammar. 

(1.) Substant and Adject in attrihutive or predicative com- 
hinations. Compare Eegel, p. 217. 

1. Erode, hocler : ' as brode as is a bocler,' 473. 

2. Briglit hrest-plat ; * in a bright brest-plat and in a 
gy]>oun,' 2122 in E. Bell's edit., whilst the Eoutledge 
edition has here : * And in a brest-plate and in a gipon ; ' 
and Morris reads : ' in a brest-plat and in a light gypoun.' 


3. Buaj/, bee: 'as "besy as bees,' 10296; *like a besy 
bee/ 15663. Very frequent in Mod. English. 

4. Care^ cold: *That me ban bolpen fro my cares 
cold,* 11617; * that was ybound in sinne and cares cold,' 

5. Cursed crone: 'This olde Soudaimesse, this cursed 
crone,' 4852. 

6. Dere daughter, 4867, 12142, 12152, 12171. 

7. Fayn^ foul : ' as fayn as foul is of the brighte sonne,* 
2439 ; 'as foul is fayn whan that the sonne up riseth/ 

8. Faire forest: *he priketh thurgh a faire forest,' 

9. Faire forhead : 'she hadde a fayre forehed,' 154. 

10. Fressche flowers : 'ful of freshe iloures,' 90; 'see 
the freshe floures,' 15208. 

11. Feigned flatery : 'with fained flattering,' 707; 
similarly in Shakspere, Henry VL, part 1, Y. iii*: 'flatter 
or feign.' 

12. Foulefend : ' the foule fend me fetche,' 7192 ; ' he 
foule fend him bent/ 7221 ; ' the foule fend him fetch,' 

13. Garden^ grove, gaudy, grene : 'the garden ful of 
branches grene,' 1069; 'in gaudy grene clothed,' 2081; 
' in that grove sote and grene,' 2862. Compare Shakspere, 
Mids, N, Dream, II. i. : * in grove or green.' 

14. Hasty hast: compare A, 9. 

15. high hand, halle, hill, heaven : ' if that he fought 
and hadde the higher hand,' 401 ; ' the ruin of the highe 
halles,' 2465 ; ' of Apennin the hilles hie,' 7921 ; ' high on 
an hill,' 14057 ; ' in the hevens hie,' 15976. In Layamon, 
'haeh hul,' 17272, 25737, 21439-40; comp. Eegel, p. 220. 
Also, 'hae3e haeuene;' compare Eegel, p. 219: 'ich 
wullen bidden drihten-Jja an haefuene hae^e sitte^,' 
19543. In Anglo-Sax., 'heah of heofonum,' Exod. 492; 
' heah heofona gehlidu,' Genes. 584 ; ' heah on heofonum/ 


Gen. 97. In Old Saxon, *up te themu hohon himile,' 
Hel. QbQ; ^bi himile themu h6hon/ Hel. 1510; Mioh 
himiles lioht,' Hel. 2602, etc. In Old iN'orse, ' har himinn : 
fallo or ham himni,' EgiUs. 337, etc. In Old H. Qerman, 
'fone himile liohistim,' Grif. 4, 939. Middle H. G., 'uf 
dine hohen himele dort,' conip. M. H. G. Diet., I. 686^ 
In Modern German this combination occurs very frequently, 
also the compound adverb : ' himmelhoch-bitten, betheuern,' 
etc. Compare also Shakspere, Rom. and Jul., III. v. : 
*The vaulted heaven so high above our heads.' 

16. Herte huinble, hardij : 'His hardy herte,' 2651; 
* with an hardy herte he gan to crie,* 15045 ; * with humble 
herte,' 15865. Compare the Modern German : * hochherzig, 

17. Lovely look : ' many a lovely loke he on hem caste,' 
3342. • 

18. Longe lene legges : * ful longe were his legges and 
ful lene,- 593. 

19. LikoYous lust : *]N"o likorous lust was in hire herte 
yronne,' 8090. 

20. lif lustt/y longe: *so long a lif,' 3021 ; 'the lusty 
lif,' 9269. In Layamon we find only the combination 
'libben long.' Comp. Eegel, p. 226, where the parallels in 
the other dialects are to be found* 

21. Maid melee, merciful: 'as nieke as is a mayde,' 
69 ; ' and like a maiden meke for to se,' 3202 ; ' thou 
merciful mayde,' 5060. 

22. Miglitij m.aces, 2613. 

23. Med rode, rubles: 'his rode was red,' 3317; 'ful 
of rubies red,' 2166. 

24. Sorwes soi^e : ' have reuthe upon my sorwes sore,' 
2421 ; 'he told his sorwes sore,' 5178. Compare in Anglo- 
Saxon : ' sorga sarost,' Gen. 2029; ' sarra sorga,' Ful. 182. 

25. Salte see : ' she sayleth in the salte see/ 4865 ; ' in 
the salt see,' 5250, 5459, and 5529. Compare Shakspere, 
Henry VI. , part 2, III. ii. : 'as salt, as sea.' In Old 


Friesic, comp. M. Heyne^ p. 23 : ' thi salta se/ 122, 7, Leg. 
EUstr. ; * witha saltha se,* 40, 23, Leg. Ems. 3 * wither tha 
saltha se,' 42, 2, Leg. Huns. ; ' withir tliene salta se,' 43, 9, 
Leg. Eiistr. ; ' toienst dyn salta sa/ 388, 15, Leg. Westerg. 
Yery frequent in Anglo-Saxon. 

27. Stixinge strondes, 13. 

28. Stremnes sterne^ stoide, sternes : ' many a strange 
streme,' 466; witli 'sterne stremes rede,' 2612, following 
the Morris and Eoutledge edition, while Eob. Bell reads in 
this place : * stoute stremes reede.' 

29. Wide wcdles, woundes, loorld : 

a, 'with his waste walles wide,' 1333; 'with his 
olde walles wide,' 1882. 

h, * the large woundes wide,' 4482 ; ' al be his 
woundes never so depe and wide,' 10469; 'the 
blody woundes depe and wide,' 15021. 

5. ' This wide world,' 7188; 'all this wide world,' 
1 1 1 33 ;' this wide world,' 1 1 540 ; ' throughout 
-the wide world,' 14119; 'this wide world,' 
14384 and 14552. Compare Shakspere, Much 
Ado, etc., IV. i. : 'not for the wide world.' 
Very frequently employed in Modern German. 

30. Wilcked wight : * blisse this house from every 
wikked wight,' 3484; 'to niaken me a wikke4 wight,' 

' 31. Wilde wqveSj woodes : 'the wilde waves wol hire 
drive,' 4888. Shaksp., Tempest, L ii. : ' the wild waves ;' 
similarly, Pericles, lY. i. : ' winds and waves ;' ' to walke 
in the wodes wilde,' 2311. In Layamon, 'wilde wude;' 
comp. Eegel, p. 221 : ' into fisse wilde wude,' 25905 ; 
there is, besides, the combination ' wude and wildernes ' 
very frequent ; comp. Eegel, p. 196. In M. H. G., ' die 
wilden unde welde,' — ' uf waldes wilde,' — ' der wilde wait,' 
— 'der wilden welde;' compare M. H. G. Diet., 3, 667^ 
47P, 472^ In Old Friesic, following M. Heyne, p. 29, 
we find only-; ' of thera wilda wostene,' 131, 24 ; 134, 15, 


Leg. Eiistr.; 342, 26, Leg. Huiisig. Compare also Shak- 
spere, CyinbeUne^JiY . ii. : * with wild wood-leaves and weed.' 
Very often used in Modern German. 

32. Wif, wedded, tcikked, wise, icortliy : *I am thy 
trewe veray wedded wif,' 3609 ; 'to reden of wikked 
wives,' 6267 ; 'ye wise wives,' 5807 ; ' wives that ben wise,' 
5811 ; ' a wise wif,^ 5813 ; ' another worthy wif,' 6118. 

33. Woman weTce, loery, wikhe, wise, wofid, worldly, 
worthy: 'This weke woman,' 5352 3 'this wery woman,' 
4942; 'a woman wikke,' 5448; 'a wise woman,' 5791; 
'every woman that is wise,' 6106; 'this woful woman,' 
4942 ; ' of worldly woman,' 5446 ; ' worldly women,' 6615 ; 
' with worthy wimmen,* 217 ; 'a worthy woman,' 461. 

(2.) Verhs or adjectives comhlne with the adverb or sub- 
stantive which contains their secondary adverbial 
meaning. Compare Kegel, p. 221. 

1. Clothed in clothes. Compare A^ 4 : ' clad in clothes 
blake,' 901; 'cladde in cote,' 103; 'clothed in clothes,' 

2. Doun descend, 10637. 

3. Fallen tofote : ' falleth him to fete,' 5524 ; similarly, 
' foin if him list on foot,' 2552. In Layamon, ' fallen to 
foten ; ' comp. Eegel, p, 223 : ' eodon to fon kaisere and 
feoUen to his foten,' 8848, also 29855, 12716. In Anglo- 
Saxon, 'fat him at fotum fe(511 faege cempa,' Byrhtn. 119. 
In Old Saxon, ' ef thu wilt hntgan te mi, fallan te mtnum 
fotim,' Hel. 1103. In M. H. G., 'einem under die viieze 
vallen, eineiii ze vuoze vallen,' etc. ; comp. M. H. G. Diet. 
3, 445^ In Mod. German, ' zu FlLszen fallen, fuszfallig, 

4. Fair of face : 'that was so faire of face,' 12958* 
' smal and faire of face,' 13632. 

5. Ful, as adverb combined with— 

a, Fcdre and fetisly : ' ful faire and fetisly,' 1 24 ; 
'faire and fetisly,' 275 ; ' ful fetisly,' 3319, 4367. 


K Faire, 541, 575^ 608, 5151, 13938, 16004. 

c. Fat, 200. 

d. Free, 13651. 

e. Fin, 455, 3794, 13783. 
/. Fresh, 367, 8657. 

g. Farsud, 233. 

h. Fain, 4593, 5207, 15304, 16059, 17351. 
i. Fast, 4088, 5259, 6254, 12058, 13015, 13756, 
14209, 14322, 15093, 15608, 16614. 

6. Gaudid with grene, 159 ; compare C, 1, 13. 

7. Light as lefe on linde, 9087. 

8. Bike sore, 3488, 5405, 6810, 11316, 14210; 'sike 
sorwefuUy,' 6495, 11894. 

9. Smiten smert ; ^ Or if men smote it with a yerde 
smert,' 149. In Layamon, 'Smiten mid smaerte biten;' 
compare Eegel, p. 227 : ' uppen Colgrime smiten mid 
swi^e smaerte biten,* 21363-64; ' mid longe sweorden heo 
smitten, fa 3ifen smaerte biten,' 30097-98 ; * alle somed 
smiten on mid smarten heore dunten,* 27050-51 ; * ofte me 
hine smaet mid smaerte 3erden,' 20317-18. 

10. Sore smiten: *God him so sore smote,' 14517; 
compare also, 'his dedly woundes sore smerte,' 14631; 
* though we sore smerte,* 16339. 

11. Sothly sain. Compare C, 4, 10, 3670, 11082, etc., 
etc. Angl.-Sax., * so^lice seggan,' Beow. 141, 273, 2899, etc. 

12. Water, well : *Hire body wesshe with water of a 
well,' 2285; *to fetchen water at a welle is went,' 8152"; 
^ take water of that well and wash his tonge,' 12290. 

13. Wonder wide, well : ' wonderly wel,' 415 in Morris's 
edition, and in that of Eob. Bell. The Eoutledge edition 
has here : * He kept his patient a ful gret del ; wonder 
wide,' 8598. 

(3.) Substantives and verbs are combined in the relation of 
subject and predicate. Compare Eegel, p. 230. This 
combination rarely occurs in Chaucer, 


1. Day dawetJi : * tlier daweth him no day/ 1676. 

2. Grass groweth: Hher growen gras and herbes,' 
6356; 'every gras that groweth upon rote/ 10467. 
Compare Shakspere, Hamlet, III. ii : * While the grass 

3. Route ridetli : ' And to the paleis rode ther many a 
route/ 2496. 

4. Shaftes sluveren upon sliouldreSy 2607. 

5. Speres sprengen, 2609. 

6. Stedes stomUm, 2615. 

7. Tonge telleth : ' Ther may no tonge telle/ 9215. 

(4.) Verbs and substantives are often found combined as 
predicate and object. Compare Eegel, p. 236. 

1. BreJceii his behest, 11010; comp. *holdeth your 
hest/ 11376 ; ' she must nedes holden hire behest/ 11475. 

2. To drink a draught, 135, 6041, 12294, 12390, 12502. 

3. To dreden dremes, 14936, 14975, 14979, 15069, 

4. To harrow hell : * by him that harwed helle/ 3512 ; 
' tor him that harwed helle,' 7689. 

5. Leden lif 4230, 5396, 5578, 6761, 9149, 9309, 
9502, 9519, 11056, 11856, 13236, 13248, 14832. In 
Layamon, ' leden lif ; ' comp. Eegel, p. 239 : ' ne scalt fu 
nauere mare fi lif feiine lede,' 26846 ; ' fus he laedde his 
lif,' 7015 ; * swa we sculden-ure lif laeden,' 1065 ; ' ])us heo 
leode^ heore lif inne fire leode,' 19720. In Anglo-Saxon, 
' f orfon orsorg Itf ealnig laeda^ woruldmen wise buton 
wendinge,' ^Ifr. Metr. 7, 40. In Modern English this is 
very frequent. 

6. Lesen lif, 3521, 6323, 11672, 11904, 15148, 15368, 
15376, 15789. In Layamon, * leosen lif;' see Eegel, p. 
239 : * fat he seal fat lif leosen/ 201 12 ; * hire lif heo losede 
sone/ 25918. In Angl.-Sax., *lif forledsan.' Jn Old Sax., 
* nio the sterbhan ni skal, lif farliosan, the her gil6bhid 
te mi,' Hel. 4057. In M. H. G., ' den lip verliesen,' Nib. 


2,4:, 603-4, 1703-4; Twein 1084, 1164, 1491. In Old 
Friesic, * ther hi sin lif mithe machte iirliase ; ' comp. 
EichtMn. 1113\ 

7. Leten lif, 15874, 15991. Angl.-Sax., ^ alaetan lif 
and le6dscipe,' Beow. 2750; also Ful. 483; Gen. 1073. 
Comp. Eegel, p. 240. 

8. Make melodie, 9, 15602. 

9. Make mention, 895, 1937, 5614, 4474, 14127, 
16897, 17055. 

10. To say sotli, 286, 4353, 4354, 5777, 6032, 6183, 
6523, 9106, 4863, 9956, 9999, 12620, 15431, 16132, 
16753 ; * to say sothfastnesse,' 15334. In Layamon, ' sng- 
gen so^;' comp. Eegel, p. 242: 'liire fader heo wolde 
suge seo^,' 3035 ; 'we wulle^ so^ siigen,' 4620, also 
3181, 4972, 8015, 9836, 13888, 14944-45, ^16108, 
18952-53, 24933, 26385, 28002-3, 28134, etc. In the 
Ormulnm, 'forr fatt he se33de so]) feking off his depe 
sinness,' 19945; 'Godess sop to seg3enn,' 19958; ' ioc 
segge 3nn to fuUe so]?,' 13814. In Mod. -Engl., *to sooth- 
say,' 'soothsayer,' 'soothsaying.' In Anglo-Sax., 'sw^ hy 
naefre man lyh^, se pe secgan wile s6^ after rihte,' Beow. 
1049; similarly, Andr. 853; Ps. xci. 2; ' secge ic ]je to 
s6^e,' Beow. 590; Andr. 618; 'gif ]?ii him t6 so^e sagst,' 
Genes. 570 ; similarly, Beow. 51 ; Tul. 132. In Old Saxon 
we find, not ' s6d seggean,' but ' giseggian te so^e,' HeL 
4110; 'seggean te s6^on,' Hel. 925; 'seggean sodliko,' 
HeL 13615 2652; 'giseggian soSliko,' H^l. b^^ -, ' s6=Sllko 
sagis,' Ha 3020, 5092; ' sagda sodliko,' HeL 494, 581, 
etc. In Old jSTorse, 'fylg^i sa^r sliku, sag^i hon mun 
fleira,' AUam. 45, etc. 

11. Wendeth Us loay, 6500; 'went his way,' 5022^ 
7316, 7318, 7609, 8450, 8561, 14452, 15104, 16002, 
16500, IQQ^Q] ' walke by the way,' 7669, 14032. 

12. To wed a wife, 5748, 5750; 'a woman,' 5831^ 
compare ' wynne to wif,'. 1291. 

13. Werken will: ' werketh after yonr -will,' 8380 


In Layamon, 'wiirchen iwille;' comp. Regel, p. 245 • 
' wurchen ic wulle muchel godes wille/ 23743-44 ; * al ich 
wnlle wurclien after ]?iiie willen,' 12167-68; * alle we 
senile wnrchen after ])ine iwille/ 18372-73. In Meso- 
Gothic, ' saei allis vanrkei]? viljan gnf s/ Marc. 3, 35. jj^ 
Anglo-Saxon, * fat we moton wyrcan willan ftnne/ Hymn. 
7, 81 ; * fat hie his gion gorscipe fulgan woldon, wyrcean 
his willan/ Genes.. 250, etc. In Old Saxon, 'wirkean 
wiUeon godes,' Hel. 855 ; ' wirkia^ minan willeon,' H61; 
2585 ; ' wickead after is willeon/ H^l. 2590. 

I have now finished the enumeration of the principal 
aUiteratiye combinations occurring in Chaucer's 'Canter- 
bury Tales.' My object was to make this essay a con- 
tinuation of Eegel's investigation of the alliterative forms 
in Semi-Saxon, and to show that in Chaucer many of the 
old alliterative formulae have been preserved, some of which 
have come down to our times. This series of alliterative 
combinations, as we have seen, not only belongs to one or 
two tribes of the German race, but its traces may be found 
in the idioms both of the old and modern German tribes. 

Bostockj Easter J 1876. 










Current opinions on Chancer'^ relation to the Church 

Public opinion about Popery in Chaucer's time 

Chaucer's Parson a Wiclif&te 

Reasons for Chaucer's Wicliffism 

The Parson's Tale the only proof to the contrary 

The Parson's Tale criticised. It appears to be largely 
interpolated (Part I, p. 248 ; Part II, p. 252 
Part III, p. 253 ; Part IV, p. 254 j Part V, p. 275) 

The Retractation 

Skeleton of the Parson's Tale in its present form 

Genuine Tale and Skeleton 

Eeasons for the genuineness 

Time and Place of the falsification 









279— sr 





Notwithstanding the immense amount of work done, 
from the days of Caxton down to our own time, for the 
study of the second greatest English poet, and in spite of the 
meritorious publications of Tyrwhittj Warton, Sir Harris~ 
Nicolas, BradshaWy Fumivall, Ten-Brinh, and others, many 
a problem concerning him remains still unsolved, and — 
considering the want of sure information about his life, and 
the fragmentary state in which we possess his principal 
work — ^this is not to be wondered at. 

One of the questions to which no satisfactory answer 
has yet been given is : What was Chaucer's relation to the 
Church ? 

In commenting on 'Speght's Life of Chaucer' Tyr- 
whitt {hitrod. Disc.^) speaking of the preface to the Plow- 
man's Tale, makes the following remark: "Though he 
(Chaucer) and Boccace have laughed at some of the abuses 
of religion and the disorders of Ecclesiastical persons, it is 
quite incredible that either of them, or even Wiqliff him- 
self, would have railed at the whole government of the 
Church, in the style of the Plowman's Tale. If they had 
been disposed to such an attempt, their times would not 
have borne it ; but it is probable that Chaucer, though he 
has been pressed into the service of Protestantism by some 
zealous writers, was as good a Catholic as men of his under- 
standing and rank in life have generally been. The neces-, 
sity of auricular Confession, one of the great scandals of 
Popery, cannot be more strongly inculcated than it is in 
the following Persones Tale." Professor Seeley^ believes 

' Morris's edition, I. 249, Note 42. 
2 Chaucer Soc. Eep. 1873. 


that the Plowman of the Prologue is, or is founded on, the 
ideal Piers Plowman ; but with regard to Chaucer's relation 
to the Church, all the principal English Chaucerians seem 
to share Tyrwhitt's opinion. Of course, nobody can help 
perceiving the strong contrast between the Parson's Tale 
and Chaucer's well-known enmity against the clergy, as 
shown in many parts of the Canterhury Tales, but it has 
1 not, as yet, given rise to any suspicion, the generally 
accepted opinion being that Chaucer, bowed down by 
poverty, age, and infirmity, made his peace with the Church; 
and Mr Furnivall suggests that he got the lease of the 
little house m the garden of St Mary's chapel, Westminster, 
as a reward for his penitence and the' Parson* s Tale. 1 
cannot help doubting this. An engraving of the lease has 
been published by the Society of Antiquaries. The monk 
Robert Hermodesworth, who was keeper of St Mary's, and 
made the contract with the consent of the abbot and con- 
vent, reserved a rent of £2 13^. 4c?., — but this was, I 
imagine, a high rent for a little house, at that time, when 
money had ten times more value than now^, — and he 
expressly reserved for himself, or the monastery, the ordi- 
nary power in leases, to distrain, if Chaucer should be in 
arrear with any part of the payment of rent for the space 
of 15 days 2. Does that look like a reward 1 

A prominent German scholar. Professor Pauli, seems to 
hold an opinion opposed to that stated above. In his 
* Bllder aics AUengland* (YII. 209) he says that the great 
political and religious questions of his time didn't puzzle 
Chaucer like his friend Gower, or drive him to the opposite 
extreme ; that, on the contrary, he saw perfectly clearly, and 
endeavoured to treat these questions objectively, according 
to his nature. The American Eeed^ says that Chaucer 

* " In 1350 the average price of a horse was 18*. 4^. ; of an ox, 
11. 45. ^d. ; of a cow, 175. 2d. ; of a sheep, 2s. 6d. ; of a goose, 9d. ; 
of a hen, 2d. ; of a day's labour in husbandry, 3^." — (Morris, Introd. 
to Ch., Clar. Press Series ed., p. vii.), 

^ Sir H. Nicolas, Life of Ck., in Morris, I. 41. 

3 Engl. Lit., p. 69. 


greeted Wicliffe*s work of reform with joy; Gatschenberger^ 
unconditionally calls him Wicliffe's intimate friend; — I 
don't know his reasons ; to my direct inquiry I received no 
answer. Ebert, Xissner, and Hertzberg have, to my know- 
ledge, not examined this point; Ten-Brink has not yet 
given his opinion ; of his excellent ^ Ghaucerstudien ' only 
one volume is out. 

To get at the truth, we must first recollect what was 
the public opinion in England, in the second half of the 
14th century, with regard to the Pope and the Church. The 
reign of Edward III., in which Chaucer's youth and early 
manhood fell, is one of the grandest and most glorious 
periods in English history. During the preceding 300 
years the gifted ^N'ormans had been completely amalgamated 
with the morally noble and bodily powerful Anglo-Saxons, 
and the nation thus grown into existence offered a rare 
image of health and strength^. A lively consciousness of 
their belonging to one another — which expressed itself in 
the common use of a rich and powerful, though still some- 
what unwieldy, language, — ^had taken the place of the 
former hatred between the conqueror and the conquered, 
and, in consequence of the exercise of constitutional Tights 
for above a hundred years, the brilliant victories in France, 
Spain, and Italy, the fast growing culture, the development 
of arts, and the increase of wealth produced by commerce, 
had intensified itself into a strong national feeling, into a 
high, but justified, self-esteem. In such times of spiritual 
and material progress, new ideas irresistibly make their 
way, overthrowing everything opposed to the general 
tendency — however venerable may be the traditions upon 
which it is founded. It was a time like that we have now 
in Germany ; and even as the conflict with Popery has now 
broken out with us, so did it then rage in England ; only 

^ History of Engl. Lit., I. 157. 

* See Macaulay's brilliant paragraphs on this subject in his 
Introduction to his Hist, of England, i. 16 — 20^ ed. 1849. 


mucli more furiously, because the bull Unam sandam had 
soon been followed by the " Babylonian Exile " ; the im- 
moderate pretension of the popes, depending, as they did, 
on England's deadly foe, could not but be doubly felt, and 
the awful moral depravity .of all the clergy, as well as the 
great Schism, must at last have filled the whole nation with 

The general abhorrence vented itself in poems like the 
Vision of Piers Plowman^ in the writings of Wicliffe, in 
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. When, in this immortal 
work, we see Chaucer pour the biting acid of his satire on 
the representatives of Eome, and especially the friars, he 
most decidedly appears as the second and avenger of him 
who in his pamphlet De otio et rnendacitate^ had merci- 
lessly exposed the foulest sore of the Eoman Church. All 
the clerical and semi-clerical pilgrims are made to feel his 
weighty scourge ; the dnly^ exception — a brilliant one — is 


By the side of the repulsive characters of the friars and 
clergy and their officials, the Parson of the Prologue 
appears like a bright fiLgure of sublime beauty. E'obody, 
perhaps, has read this delicate yet pithy picture without 
emotion ; hundreds of times the Parson has been quoted as 
the ideal of Christian charity and humility, evangelical 
piety, unselfish resignation to the high calling of a pastor. 

It cannot be that Chaucer unintentionally produced 
this bright image with so dark a background. Involun- 
tarily it occurs to us, as to former critics, that a Wicliffite, 
perhaps the great reformer himself, sat for the picture ; and 
the more we look at it, the m re striking becomes the like- 
ness. This observation is not new; to say nothing of 

» Wycliffe. 

^ The companions of the Prioress seem to make an exception 
also; this semblance is, however, completely destroyed by what 
Tyrwhitt says in his Introd, Disc, (Morris, I. 209 ff., with the 


English critics, Pauli (Bilder, VIL 202) says that the like- 
ness of the Parson has decidedly Lollardish traces, and 
. Lethler (lohann Yon Wiclif, I. 408 ff .) expressly declares it 
to be Wicliffe's portrait, though he says, at the same time, 
that it is not only doubtful, but improbable, that Chaucer 
should have sympathized with, or really appreciated, 
Wicliffe's great ideas of and efforts for reform. Both 
scholars, however, principally refer to the description in 
the General Prologue ; but the Parson is mentioned also 
in the Shipman^s prologue and in that to the Parson's Tale ; 
and it is exactly in the latter two that we find the most 
striking proofs of his unquestionably Wicliffite character. 


as a whole, and its desmption of the Parson, are the best- 
known parts of the Garderhiiry Tales, I can, therefore, be 
brief about it. 

In three passages it is stated with great emphasis that 
the Parson took his doctrine from the gospel : 

V. 481. That Cristes gospel gladly* wolde preche. 
V. 498. Out of the gospel he the wordes caughte. 
V. 627. But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve 

He taught, and ferst he folwed it himselve. 

This was a pointedly distinguishing characteristic of a 
Wicliffite ; for the gospel was the foundation-stone of their 
doctrine and sermons. Wicliffe himself was indefatigable 
in drawing general attention to it^; he and his associ- 
ates translated the Bible ; with this sword and shield the 
great " Dr Evangelicus " attacked the Eoman dogmas and 

* Tyrwhitt and the Six-Text edition have " trewely," which is, 
perhaps, still more convenient for a WicliflSte. 

^ Wicliffe' s Festpr^igten, No. 22, fol. 42 : Idem est spiritualiter 
pascere auditorium sine sententia evangelica^ ac si quis faceret 
conviviimi sine pane^ .... and : Quando praedicatum est ab apos- 
tolis ei^angelium, crevit ecclesia in virtute ; sed modo ex defeetu 
spiritualis seminis, continue decrescit. — Vermischte Predigten, Ko. 
9, fol. 207 : sacerdos Domini missus ad gignendum et nutriendum 
populum verho vitae. — (In Lec/ile?; I. v. Wiclif, I. 401.) See also 
p. 422. 


statutes, and refuted the accusation of heresy ; while the 

orthodox Catholic clergy never allowed the Scripture to be 

looked upon as the only source of Christian truth, and, 

especially in Chaucer's time, mostly moved on the barren 

sands of subtle scholastic theology. In their sermons, 

instead of preaching the gospel, they frequently amused 

their hearers by telling fables, romances, and jests. 

Moreover, the Parson was a holy man; he made the 

gospel, as we know from v. 528, his rule of thought and 

life. The whole prologue proves it; I only quote two 

more passages : 

V. 479. But riche he was of holy thought and werk, 
V. 605. And though he holy were, and vertuous, , . 

WiclifiPe and his disciples distinguished themselves by 
an irreproachable life ; even their worst enemies were 
obliged to acknowledge that. How very different were the 
orthodox clergy in this point ! The secular clergy, indeed, 
were better than the monks, but it was exactly among them 
that Wieliffe found many most zealous followers, and out 
of their number he recruited his itinerant preachers \ 

V. 480 brings a new characteristic : 

He was also a lerned man, a clerk. 
Wieliffe and his school did not indulge in the illusion 
that learning was unnecessary for holy purposes; they 
loved and cherished it ; in the ranks of their antagonists 
reigned incapacity and ignorance. 

Finally we have a peculiar outward mark : 
V. 495. Uppon his feet, and in his hond a staf. 
A chronicler of those times, Knighton, a prebendary of 
Leicester, says that the Wicliffite Aston ^^vehiculum 
equorum non requisivit, sed pedest7is effeefus cum haculo 
incedens ubique ecclesias regni — indefesse cursitando visi- 
tavit, ubique in ecclesiis regni praedicans." — Hist. arigL 
Scriptores, X. London, 1652, vol. IIL col. 2658 f. (in 
Lechler, I. 421, I^ote). Th. Walsingham describes the 
^ Pauli, Bilder, VII. 202. Lechler, I. 417 f. and 421. 


associates of Wicliffe, "talaribus indutos vestibus de rus- 
seto, insignum perfectionis amplioris, incedens nudis pedi- 
huSf qui suos errores in populo ventilarent et palam ac 
piiblice in suis sermonibus praedicarent." — Hist angfl., ed. 
Eiley, 1863, I. 324 (ibid.). And Panli says (Bilder, YII. 
243) that Archbisbop Courtenaym 1382, after Wat Tyler's 
insurrection, when trying to pass the bill against heretics,^ 
expressly stated in his speech in parliament, that the 
Wicliffite itinerant clergy walked about in plain apparel of 
coarse reddish cloth, barefoot and staff in hand. 

This contradicts at the same time the assumption that 
Wicliffe himself had been the Parson's prototype; for it 
was no peculiarity of his to walk about on foot and with a 
staff; in fact, he never was " a pore Persoun" (v. 478), for 
the King's favour amply provided for his wants. 


proves plainly that the Parson was a Wicliffite* When he 
earnestly, and yet mildly, rebukes the host for taking the 
Lord's name in vain, Henry Bailey exclaims derisively, 

y. 10 lankyn be ye there ? 

Now, goode men, . . . herkneth me ; 
I smel a toiler in the wind, ... 

and as the Parson makes no reply, he repeats the invective 
with a new oath, as if to try if he would put up with it : 

V. 13. Abideth for Goddes digne passion, 
For we schul have a predicacion ; 
7%is loller heer wol[de] prechen us somwhat. 

He does not " smell a loller " only, he sees him now, points 
him out! Even now the Parson remains silent. This 
silence speaks very plainly. For the nickname applied to 
him was in those times as generally used for " WicHffite," 
as now, for instance, *' quaker " is for a member of the 
Society of Eriends i. The heaviest charge imaginable that 

* From Harl. Cat. 1666 : " And to absteyne fro othes nedeles 
and unleful and repreve sinne by way of charite, is cause now why 
Prelates and sum Lordes sclaunderen men, and clepen hem Loh 


could be T)rouglit against any priest had been thrown in 
the Parson's face : He was branded as a heretic ! 

For an orthodox clergyman it would have been im- 
possible to put up with this epithet ; even the most peace- 
ful and longsuffering must have resented it, if only for the 
sake of the laymen who witnessed the scene, and who 
would, in consequence of it, and if need were, have been 
able to cite the example of an heretical priest as an excuse 
for their own heresy. But the Parson remained silent. 
Here we may alter the proverb : Qui facet consentire vide- 
tur, and say: Qui tacet consentity or in ordinary English 
phrase, "Silence gives consent." 

There can be no doubt, I think, that the Shipman was 
of the same opinion, as we may see by 

V. 16, * Nay by my father soule ! that schal he nat,' 

Sayde the Schipman^ ; *heer schal he naught preche, 

He schal no gospel glosen heer ne teche. 

We levyn al in the gret God,' quod he. 

* He wolde sowen som difficulte, 

Or springen cokkil^ in our clene corn.' 

Three times he protests energetically against the Lollard's 
expected sermon 3, against his ^gospel glosing,' that would 
only disturb the peaceful harmony of the pilgrims (or the 
conformity of their faith). With the skilful remark " We 
levyn al in the gret God," and the decided declaration that 
he himself is going to tell a tale now, he- prevents the 
pending quarrel. 

Who used to ' glose ' on the gospel in those times ? . 

lardes, Eretikes, etc." Tyrwhitt concludes (p. 349, note 1) that 
* Lollard ' was a common invective. Common enough it was, no 
doubt ; but to denote a Wicliffite I All the historical works on 
that time prove it. Thus Knighton says : " sicque a vulgo Wyclyf 
discipuli et Wicliviani sive Lollardi vocati sunt." (Ldchier, II. 5, 
where some more passages to this ejBfect are to be found, among 
which is one from an official document. See also p. 55 !) 

* Only Arch. Seld. B. 14 has " Schipman" ; 18 of the 22 MSS. 
of the Six-Text print have Squire, 3 Sompnour, 2 of them in oppo- 
sition to the headings. It is, however, not material who spoke. 

^ LoUium, in allusion to the then general derivation of " Lol- 

^ Some Protestants hate e\^angelical sermons as much as 
Papists do. 


Wlio grounded on it a doctrine differing from that of the 
Clmrch, and wHcli was sure to produce the most violent 
disputes, as soon as it was pronounced before orthodox 
ears ? Who else but the WicHffites ? 


at last removes all doubt. The host, who only a short.time 
before used very passionate language against the Monk, 
and spoke "with rude speech and bold" to the !N"onne- 
priest, behaves very respectfully to the Parson. ITot till 
all the other pilgrims have told their tales, and then in a 
conciliatory manner, does he ask him ; 

V. 20, I pray to God to yeve him right good chaimce. 
That tellith us Ms tale lustily. 

Had the quiet dignity of the Lollard made an impression 
upon him, or had he been struck by the idea that a reli- 
gious persuasion enabling to suffer insults so quietly, could 
not be quite objectionable 1 * Sir prest,' he says, perhaps 
still somewhat in doubt, owing to the Parson's peculiar 

V. 22. artow a vicory ? 

Or artow a persoun ^ ? say soth, by thy fay. 

Perhaps he thought he might yet have done the Parson 
wrong, and was anxious to give him an opportunity to clear . 
himseK of the suspicion of heresy by explaining his real 
station. But the Parson did not avail himself of the 
opportunity. What could he have said 1 Tell an untruth 
he would not ; and to declare himseK a Wicliffite in this 
society would have been neither safe nor advisable. The 
host, however, instead of growing impatient, as was his 
wont, passes over this painful silence, saying : " Be what 
thou be, ne breke thou nought oure play " (v. 24) 3 he even 
flatters him: 

* The Vicar took only the small tithes of his parish, while the 
great ones .went to a Monastery or Cathedral, &c. The Parson or 
Eector took both the great and small tithes. 


V. 27. For trewely me thinketh by thy chier, 

Thou scholdist wel knyt up a gret matier. 

Ciiaucer couldn't liave paid more delicate homage to 
the Lollard, nor shown more forcibly the powerful influ- 
ence of the Wicliffite preachers over the minds of others, 
than by the effect which the dignified bearing of the Par-r 
son had upon this unlicked cub of an innkeeper who had 
clumsily trodden on the corns of all the other tale-tellers, 
and even now could not quite renounce his innate coarse- 
ness. The Host asks for a fable. !N"ow, at last, the Parson 
bursts out : 

V. 31. Thou getist fable noon i-told for me, 
For Poul, that writeth unto Timothe, 
Repreveth hem that weyveth sothfastnesse, 
And tellen fables, and such wrecchednesse. 

35. Why schuld I sowen draf out of my fest. 
Whan I may sowe whete, if that me lest ? 
For which I say, if that yow lust to hiere 
Moralite and vertuous matiere, 
And thanne that ye wil yeve me audience, 

40. I wot ful fayn at Cristis reverence 
Do yow plesaunce leful, as I can. 
But trusteth wel, I am a suthern man, 
I can not geste, rum,^ ram, ruf, by letter, 
Ne, God wot, rym hold I but litel better. 

45. And therfor, if yow lust, I wol not glose, 
I wol yow telle a mery tale in prose. 
To knyt up al this fest, and make an ende ; 
And Diesu, for his gi-ace, wit me sende 
To schewe yow the way, in this viage, 

50. Of thilke parfyt glorious pilgrimage 
That hatte Jerusalem celestial. 

To understand the whole weight of these words, we 
must read what Lechler (I. von W., I. 395 ff.) says about 
the Wicliffites' manner of preaching, as opposed to that of 
the Romish priests. Instead of preaching the word of 
God, the latter used to tell episodes from universal, or 
pieces of natural, history, the Gesta Romanorum, all sorts 
of legends, romances, and fables, from profane sources, as 
Ovid's Metamorphoses, sometimes even jokes, for the 
amusement, if not for the edification, of their hearers. The 
form of these sermons was as worldly as their contents, 
verses in alliteration and in rhyme alternating with each 


other. This sort of preaching "Wicliffe denounced with all 
the fervour of his pious, evangelical heart, with all the 
power of his mighty word. I only cite a few passages from 
Lechler's excellent work. In 61, Evangelia de Sanctis, No. 
56, Wicliffe speaks of " tragoediae vel comoediae ^ifctbulae 
vel sententiae apogryphae, quae sunt hodie populo praedi- 
catae." In his De officio pastoral^ IL ch. 5, Leipzig, 1863, 
p. 37, he says of the friars : " Et tota sollicitudo est eorum, 
non verba evangelica et saluti subditorum utilia seminare, 
sed fraudes joco mendacia, per quae possunt populum faci- 
lius spoliare." In the book De veritate s. scrijHurae, ch. 
14: "Theologus debet seminare veritatem scripturae, non 
gesta vel cronicas mundiales,^'* In his sermon on the 
Parable of the Sower : " Unde manifestum est, quod prae- 
cipua causa mortificationis spiritualis in populo, et per con- 
sequens totius nequitiae regnantis in seculo, est defectus 
vel mortificatio seminis verbi. Sed unde quaeso tam per- 
niciosa radix peccati % Eevera * inimicus homo ' surrepens 
in animas sacerdotum, superseminavit zizania ! ^N'unc enim 
si quis loquitur, non quasi sermones Dei, sed gratia ex- 
traneandi praedicabit gesta, 'poemata vel fahidas extra 
corpus scripturae, vel praedicando scripturam dividet ipsam 
ultra minuta naturalia et allegabit moralizando per colores 
rithmlcos, quousque non appareat textus scripturae sed 
sermo praedicantis, tanquam auctoris et inventoris primarii. 
Et ex ilia affectione dyabolica, qua quilibet appetit a se 
ipso, et non ab alio, habere talia, insurgit tota vitiosa 
novitas hujus mundi ; " and further : " Sed quod pejus est, 
dum declamatorie sic loquuntur sapientiam quae ex solo 
Deo est, formam metricam induunt" (IL App. B, III.). In 
De officio pastor ali, IL ch. 3, p. 34 : " Debet evangelisator 
praedicare plane evangelicam veritatem^ 

Condemning thus strictly the " fables and such wrecch- 
ednesse" told by the clerical pilgrims; choosing for his 
*^ meditacioun " the same subject that Wicliffe treated in 
his "Wicket"; following, as to form arid contents, the 


rules given by Wicliffe in a hundred passages of Ms works ; 
and doing all this not only in the spirit and manner, but 
partly with the very words, of the great reformer^, the Par- 
son, in my opinion, declares himself as unequivocally to he 
a Wicliffite^ as it was possible to do without using Hie 

One essential point, however, is still to be mentioned : 
the Parson's citing the epistles of St Paul to Timothy in 
vindication of his refusal to tell a fable. In this con- 
demnation, seemingly directed only against the tales of the 
clerical pilgrims, he, by this allusion, strikes the whole 
Eoman Church a blow as with a club. For in no other 
part of the Bible do we find such emphatic, nay, implor- 
ing exhortations to cling to the gospel; nowhere is the 
necessity of the clergy's leading a holy life so forcibly 
urged; nowhere are the false doctrines and ecjclesiastical 
statutes, as they were afterwards smuggled into Christianity 
from Rome, more decidedly condemned I 

~ In three passages in the Epistles to Timothy occurs the 
expression "/a&Zes"; 1 Timothy i. 3 and 4; iv. 1 — 8* 
2 Tim. iv. 1 — 5. All. of them are directed against false 
doctrines ; the 2nd condemns celibacy and fasting (absti- 
nence &om certain food) ; the 3rd contains an exhortation 
to faithfully discharge the duties of a minister. It is well 
known that the latter was a favourite theme with "Wicliffe ; 
he treated of it at large in his pamphlet De officio pastorali, 
touched it in many of his sermons, and has shown by his 
example, in his quality as parish priest, what value he laid 
upon a faithful administration of the holy office. 

1 Tim. i. 3 and 4. As I besought thee to abide still at^ 
Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest 
charge some that they teach no other doctrine ; 

JN'either give heed to fables, and endless genealogies, 
which minister questions, rather than godly edifying, which 
is in faith ; so do. 

^ Concerning the expression " lef ul " (v. 41) see LecTiler, II, 
17 f., and especially Knighton^ col. 2664. 


1: Tim, iv. 1 — 8. !N"ow tte sj)irit speaketh expressly, 
that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, 
giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines, of (^evils ; 

Speaking lies in hypocrisy j having their jdonscience 
seared with a hot iron ; 

Forbidding to marry \ and commanding to abstain from 
meats, which God hath created to be received with thanks- 
giving of them which believe and know the truth. 

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be 
refused, if it be received with thanksgiving : 

For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these 
things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, 
nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, 
whereunto thou hast attained. 

But refuse profane and old wives' faUes, and exercise 
thyself rather unto godliness. 

For bodily exercise profiteth little; but godliness is 
profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that 
now is, and of that which is to come. 

2 Tim, iv. 1 — 5. I charge thee therefore before God, 
and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and 
the dead at his appearing in his kingdom ; 

Preach the word ; be instant in season, out of season j 
reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doc- 

For the time will come tvhen they will not endure sound 
doctrine ; but after their own lusts shall they heap to them- 
selves teachers having itching ears ; 

And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, 
and shall be turned unto fables. 

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions^ do the 
work of an evangelist, malm full j^roof of thy ministry. 

Another point is the great precaution shown by the 
Parson before he delivers his " meditacioun." Twice he 
asks the other pilgrims' consent; twice he declares his 
willingness to be corrected, if wrong. 

* That the Wicliffites rejected celibacy, we may see from the 
petition they presented to Parliament in 1395. Conclusiones Lol- 
lardorwm : III. Quod lex continentiae injuncta sacerdotio, quae in 
praejudicium mulierum prius fuit ordinata, inducit sodomiam in 
totam sanctam ecclesiam . . . XI. Quod tjotwm continentiae factum 
in nostra ecclesia per mulieres, ... est causa inductionis maximorum 
horribilium peccatorum. (^Shirley, Fasc. ziz. 360 ff., in Lechler, II. 
24 f .) 

Wicliife's opinion on fasting is too well known to require 


37. .... if that yow lust to hiere 

Moralite and vertuous matiere, 

And thanne that ye wil give me audience, . • . 
52, And if yie vouchesauf , anoon I schal 

Bygynne my tale, for which I j'-ov praye 

Telle your avis, I can no better saye. 
55. But natheles this meditacioun 

I put it ay under correcCioun 

Of clerkes, for I am not textuel ; 

I take but the sentens, trustith wel. 

Therfor I make protestacioun, 
60. That I wol stonde to correccioun. 

What could be the use of all this^ if he intended to follow 
the beaten paths of church-doctrine ? There is no sense in 
it, except it be said to introduce some new doctrine ; and 
it is perfectly in character with a Wiclif&te whose master 
also, at the beginning of 1378, before the inquisition in 
Lambeth Hall, declared his readiness to retract as soon as 
they should convince him of the fallacy of his religious 

Kot tiU the pilgrims consent to hear his meditacioun 
does the host invite him to begin, but to be briefs. 

I have now to discuss the seeming inconsistency in the 
Parson's taking part in the pilgrimage. 

Canterbury had, besides the tomb of the " martyr," 
many attractions, even for a Wicliffite. Beda tells us that 
at the time of the Eomans, one of the first, if not the first. 
Christian church in Britain had been erected' in Canterbury 
and dedicated to St Martin; there Augustin'with his 40 
monks had first preached the gospel, and the fu'st Christian 
King of England had there received holy baptism ; there 
lay, besides Becket's, the remains of Augustin, ^thelbert, 
Stephen Langton (to whom England chiefly owes her 
Magna Charta), and the Black Prince, the idol of the 
nation, which only a short time before had been plunged 
in the deepest grief by his untimely death ^. And must 

» Pauli, Bilder, VII. 227 ft. 

^ The variations in the Six-Text print of the Parson's Prologue 
(Blank- Parson Link) are immaterial as to the sense ; they all 
spring from mistakes of the copyists or their different orthography, 

^ Pauli, Bilder, VII. f Canterbury." 


not Canterbury, as a far-famed place of pilgrimage, power- 
fully attract a Wicliffite preacher, whether he wished to see 
with his own eyes how the '' miracles " were wrought, or 
hoped to find a particularly rich field of labour in a city so 
much frequented from religious reasons 1 

One thing more. All the historians of English liter- 
ature agree in maintaining that the Canterbury Tales were 
intended to be a great picture of the morals and customs 
of those times, and by this they excuse many things that 
would otherwise throw a bad light on our poet. But what 
should we think of this picture, if, by the side of so many 
persons from all classes of society, and of such different in- 
tellectual standing, it wanted a representative of that pro- 
digious worldinown movement, which the great Wicliffe, 
according to directions from the .King and parliament, first 
raised on a question of politics, but which, with internal 
necessity, soon reached the department of religion, and 
almost overthrew the government and doctrine of the 
Established Cliurchl Even if Chaucer himself was no 
Wicliffite, such a character would have been indispensable 
in his immortal picture of his times. 

But we can scarcely suppose that our poet was not 
heartily attached to Wicliffe's tenets. If such were the 
case, how could he depict the " Lollard "^ so ideally, and, 
at the same time, display, as we have seen, such knowledge 
of the reformer's writings and way of thinkings? His near 
connection with Wicliffe's protector, John of Gaunt, who 
took the learned professor as his assistant with him to 
Bruges, and, in 1377, delivered him, with peril to himself, 
from the hands of the court of inquisition at St Paul's ; 
the interest he took in the political struggles of his nation ; 
his journeys to Italy, in which he, perhaps, passed Avignon 
and closely saw the hierarchical Babel, but which, at any 
rate, made him acquainted with the more enlightened 

' I assume that the reader admits the validity of my evidence 
and argument ♦ 



religious views of prominent Italians/ ; his high sense of 
right and truth ; lastly, the beginning of the great Schism 
which deprived Popery of the last remnant of esteem ; — 
all these tended to alienate him from the Pope and the 
Church, and make him join the great reformer with whom 
he was very probably personally acquainted 2. 

All that his works seem to contain to the contrary^ 
v^anishes upon closer examination. Thus his ABC and 
the Legende of Seint Cecile are earlier productions^; his 
Mother of God and the Story of Custance are most likely 
so too ; and it is doubtful whether the latter was meant 
to form part of the Canterbury Tales \ After the pa- 
thetic, though * bait -the -Jews,' legend of the Prioress, 
Chaucer lets fly his fantastic Sir Topas, as if to show 
that it deserves to be thrown into the same pot wdth the 
ll^abliaux; he has not a single word of praise for this 
nor for the rest of the " fables and such wrecchednesse " 
told by the other Eomists, and the Monk's water-fall of 
tragedies is roughly interrupted, while even the Miller's 
and Revels tales are applauded. But the friars are treated 
more despicably than all the others. We have only to 
remember the place of abode assigned to them in hell, 

* Mssner, Ch. in seinen Beziehungen zur italienischen Literatur, 
p. 78. 

* What Wicliffe thought of the Schism we see in his work De 
qxiatnor sectis noveUis, MS. 3929, fol. 225, col. 3 : " Benedictus Deus, 
qui — di visit caput serpentis, movens unam partem ad aliam con- 
terendam. . . Consilium ergo sanum videtur permittere has duas 
partes AnticJiristi semet ipsas destruere." — (In Lechler, I. 650.) 
That he dared to write thus, shows plainly what was the public 
opinion about Popery in England. 

^ Furnivall, Recent Work at Chaucer (in Mac Millan's Maga- 
zine^ 1873), p. 6 ; B. ten-Brinh, Chaucerstudien, p. 130, and Tyr- 
whitt (Morris, I. 240). 

^ I only mention one reason: Man of Law's Prol., v. 90, "I 
speke in prose and let him rymes make ; " the Story of Custance 
being in rhyme. To solve the difficulty by supposing v. 90 to mean 
*• I make no rhymes myself, but I will tell you a rhymed story of 
his," is Impossible, for he does make rhymes in his Prologue ; and, 
besides, if he was going to tell one of Chaucer's rhymed stories, he 
could not have said : " Though I come after him with liawebalte " 
(v. 95). 


and the punishment they incur by their greediness (Somp- 
nour's Prol. and Tale). A hatred so furious, a contempt 
passing so far beyond all bounds, are not to be ex- 
plained by the Sompnour's irritation, nor by Chaucer's 
dislike of the clergy in general. They must have their 
peculiar cause. "We need not look long for it : the synod 
held at Blackfriars, which, in May 1382, condemned 
Wicliffe's doctrines, consisted for the greatest part of 
friars ; they preached against heresy, after the Whitsun- 
tide procession; they published the resolutions of that 
synod at Oxford; they were the beadles who executed 
them ; they helped to obtain Wicliffe's excommunication, 
and to condemn him to lose his place as professor-^. 

That Chaucer himself takes part in the pilgrimage may 
be accounted for by what was said about Canterbury. 

The words in the General Prologue : 

V. 17. The holy blisful martir for to seeke, 

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke ; 

are certainly the repetition of a current phrase rather than 

his own sincere opinion. He knew better what to think 

of a pilgrimage : he makes the Parson simply call it a 

'viage' (v. 49, P. Prol.), and in the Wife's Prologue he 

has preserved for us a proverb still applicable in our own 

time : 

V. 655. Who that buyldith his hous al of salwes, 

And pricketh his blynde hors over the falwes. 
And suffrith his wyf go seken halwes, 
Is worthy to ben honged on the galwes. 

Kay, it is not impossible that the Canterhury Tales were 

intended to hold pilgrimage up to ridicule and contempt, 

by showing what loose and sinful peojDle took part in it^ 

and what unholy conversation used to shorten the way. 


The strictly orthodox contents of the Parson's Tale are 
consequently the only remaining proof that Chaucer either 
^ Panli, Bilder, VII. 242 ff. 


remained always true to the Eoman creed, or at leasj; died 
an orthodox Catholic. A man who could write a sermon 
on Penitence in which the necessity of auricular confession 
is so emphatically enjoined, cannot have been of Wicliffe's 
persuasion.' True. But is it so sure that Chaucer did 
write it 1 That he wrote it as it now lies before us ^ 1 If 
it can be shown that there is a great dissimilarity between 
the parts, that some of them are dry, poor of thought, 
clumsy, yet full of paltry subtlety and hairsplitting, full of 
inconsistencies with the Parson's w^ay of thinking, the 
Bible, common sense, and the scheme of the treatise, full 
of grammatical and stylistic mistakes ; if the remainder can 
be shown to form a genuine, evangelical De PoejiHentia — 
short, powerful, coming from, and going to, the heart, with 
a completely exhaustive and well worked-out scheme, con- 
taining nothing of auricular confession ; if the probability 
of a falsification, and the fact that it was easy to perpetrate 
it, can alike be proved — will it then still be possible to 
adduce the Parson's Tale as a proof of Chaucer's orthodox 
Catholicism ? 

This gives us the strongest indncement to examine the 
Tale minutely. Owing to the narrow limits of this Essay, 
I cannot take into consideration all . the questions concern- 
ing it ; I shall content myself with proving that the 
different parts cannot, from their contents, all belong to 
one another, nor be considered as Chaucer's. The gram- 
matical and stylistic differences I shall only touch incident- 
ally, leaving it to professional scholars to enter into parti- 
culars. I'm sorry to say, that even for this limited 
investigation I have not all the means desirable at my 
disposal. A comparison of the MSS. is impossible, owing 
to the distance ; the Six-Text print is only advanced to 
the end of the Parson's Prologue, and I can, therefore, only 

* The title it bears according to Tyrwhitt (Morris's ed.^ I. 251) 
in some MSS. : " Tractatus de Poenitentia pro fabula, ut dicitur,^ 
Bectoris," may possibly be meant to convey a doubt. 


refer to the texts given by Tyrwliitt and Morris. For- 
tunately they agree almost literally, and thus form a firm 
base upon which operations are possible. Eestricting my 
criticism to pointing out th^ defects that remain in the 
best possible sense of the passages, after the mistakes which 
may possibly be ascribed to the copyists are subtracted; 
laying stress on blunders as to style and grammar only 
where they appear united with others of a different 
nature, I hope to satisfy all reasonable demands for 

The quotations are from the revised Aldine Edition of 
Chaucer's Poetical Works, by Dr E. Morris (G. Bell and 
Sbns, London), for which the excellent MS. Harl. 7334 
has been used and carefully compared with MS. Lans- 
downe 851. The few deviations in Tyrwhitt's text are 
given in the notes. They have not much weight, for Tyr- 
whitt had not the best MSS., and he has corrected the 
text in many instances. 

A full analysis of the whole Parson's Tale would suit 
my purpose best ; but it is not practicable, owing to the 
great length of 106 pages. I must, therefore, content my- 
self with fragments. 


Jer. 6^ " State super vias, et Tidete et interrogate de 
semitis antiquis quae sit via bona, et ambulate in ea, et in- 
venietis refrigerium animabus vestris, etc. 

" Owre swete Lord God of heven, that no man wil per- 
ische, but wol that we comen alle to the knowleche of him, 
and to the blisful lif that is perdurable, ammonestith us by 
the prophet Jeremye, that saith in this wise : Stondeth upon 
the weyes, and seeth and axeth of olde pathes, that is to sayn, 
of old sentence, which is the goode way, and walketh in that 
weie, and ye schul fynde refresshyng for youre soules, etc. 
Many ben the wayes espirituels that leden folk to oure Lord 
Jhesu Christ, and to the regne of glorie ; of whiche weyes, 
ther is a ful noble way, and ful covenable, which may not 
faile to man ne to womman, that thorugh synne hath 
mysgon fro the right e way of Jerusalem celestial ; and this 


wey is cleped penitence. Of which men scliulden gladly 
herken and enquere with al here herte, to wyte what is 
penitence, and whens it is cleped penitence, and in what 
maner, arid in how many maneres heen the accipnes or 
workynges of penaunce, and how many spieces ben. of peni- 
tences, and whiche thinges apperteynen and byhoven to 
penitence, and whiche thinges destourben penitence ^Z* — p. 
263, 1. 16, to p. 264, J. 17. 

Leaving aside the spurious * wil ' and ' wol ' {p. 263, 11. 
21 and 22), this passage, up to p. 264, 1. 12, contains 
nothing that Chaucer could not have written, or the Par- 
son not have said. . 

The scheme given here is the following : 

(Subject :) PEmTEl!^CE. 

L What is penitence^ and whens it is cleped pejiitence. 
II. In how many maneres ben the acciones or workynges 
of penaunce. 

III. How many spices ben of penitences. 

IV. Whiche thinges apperteynen and byhoven to peni- 

V. Whiche thinges destourben penitence. 


" Seint Ambrose saith, that penitence is the pleynyng 
of man for the gult that he hath doon, and no more to do 
ony thing for which him oughte to pleigne. And som 
doctour saith, penitence is the waymentynge of man that 
sorweth for his synne, and peyneth himself for he hath 
mysdoon. Penitence, with certeyn circnmstaunces, is verray 
repentaunce of man that holt himself in sorwe and in woo 
for his giltes ; and for he schal be verray penitent, he schal 
first bywaile the synnes that he hath do, and-^ stedfastly 
purposen in his hert to haven schrifte of mouth, and to 
doon satisfaccioun, and never to do thing for which him 
oughte more to bywayle or to complayne, and to continue 
in goode werkes, or elles his repentaunce may nought 
avayle."— p. 264, U. 18—33. 

* The passage from the Vulgate is not in Tyrwhitt ; instead of 

* penitence' he always has 'penance' ; p. 264, 1. 12, he leavies out 

* and in what maner.' 


The definition of penitence given here by the Parson 
olfers difficulties. Coming after the two others, and being 
inore ample, it must have been intended to be better. But 
it is obviously inferior, both in contents and in form. It 
consists of Wo parts ; the first essentially repeats that 
given by ^ som doctour^^* only in other words, and with 
the addition, 'with certeyn circumstaunces,* which ex- 
presses a reservation ; the second part corrects or completes 
the first, adding the bewailing of sin, the purpose to con- 
fess, to do satisfaction (i. e. to suffer the punishments 
inflicted by the Church, or the exercise of penaunce), to 
a,void sin and to continue in good works (negative and 
positive reform of life)^ The whole may be rendered thus ; 
Penitence may be defined as true repentance, with this 
reservation, that true penitence also includes auricular con- 
fession, satisfaction and reforming. Compared with that 
of St Ambrose, this definition would, consequently add 
confession, satisfaction, and positive virtue, as principal 
requisites ; compared with that of som doctour, confession^ 
satisfaction, and virtue, both negative and positive. 

This conception is contradicted by ' verray repentaunce ' 

(1. 25). By what is true repentance to be distinguished, if 

not by its being followed by a new life 1 What, then, can 

'verray penitent' mean, since real, not sham penitence, 

was the subject under consideration from the outset ? It 

obviously served to introduce and emphasize confession 

and satisfaction. But these two requisites are not so much 

as mentioned in the remainder of Part I., only the necessity 

of leading a holy life is urged ; in the last sentence but 

one, redemption is said to depend merely on repentance 

and ' forletting of synne ' ; the last sentence expresses the 

hope that repentance on the deathbed will alone suffice for 


^ Wicliffe ? The fifth of his tenets, condemned by the so-called 
earthquake-council, says : " If a man be as contrite as he ought, all 
outward confession is superfluous or useless for him." — LeMer, I. 


" And tlierfore repentaunt folK that stinte for to synne, 
and forlete synne er that synne forlete hem, holy chirche 
holt hem siker of her savacioun. And he that synneth, 
and verraily repentith him in his last ende, holy chirche 
yit hopeth his savacioun, by the grete mercy of oure Lord 
Jhesu Crist, for his repentaunce ; but take ye the siker 
way."— p. 265, U. 11—18. 

That these lines are genuine, we may infer from the expres- 
sion, ' forlete synne', etc., 1. 12, which almost literally occurs 
at the end of the Doctor's Tale^, and by the cordial advice 
(11. 17 and 18), which seems peculiarly proper in the Par- 
son's mouth. The third definition (p. 264), as we have seen, 
is not so unobjectionable. Its form is strange too. From 
the general and abstract way of speaking — the only appro- 
priate one to define an abstract idea like that of penitence 
— ^it suddenly passes over to the injunction " and for he 
schal be verray penitent, he schal first bywaile the synnes 
that he hath do " (11. 27 and 28). This injunction cannot 
well be allowed to form a proper part of an abstract defini- 
tion. It would be less objectionable, if separated from the 
definition by a full stop ; but then the words ' with certeyn 
circumstaunces' wo aid be quite uncalled for. Besides, there 
are two awkward and unnecessary repetitions : " verray 
repentaunce — verray penitent" (p. 264, 11. 25 and 27), and 
"he schal first bywaile the synnes that he hath do," for 
this sentence contains the same idea as "hplt himself in 
sorwe and woo for his giltes " (1. 26) ; and a pleonastic and 
ungrammatical 'bywayle' comes hobbling after in line 31. 
In no other passage of the Persones Tale is * bywaile ' con- 
structed with the preposition 'for'; it only occurs with 
the simple accusative (p. 264, 1. 27; 272, 17 and 23), or 
without any object (p. 282, 1. 8), and these two passages 
are exactly in those parts which I consider genuine. It is 
scarcely to be supposed that Chaucer, who, in his Melibe, 
proves himself perfectly equal to the nicest requirements of 
dialectics, should have shown himself such a bungler in a 

^ V. 286. Forsakith synne, er synne yow forsake. 


definition intended to correct those of two authorities quoted 
hy him ; and considering the weighty objections to which 
the second half of the third definition is open besides, we 
are justified in doubting the genuineness of it and of the 
corresponding restriction ' with certeyn circumstaunces.' 

If we suppose for a moment that some churchman, 
finding that Shrift and Satisfaction, which he considered 
absolutely necessary, were wanting in all Chaucer's three 
definitions, inserted the suspicious lines, in order to cor- 
rect the third definition, and, with it, the others, but was 
not sufficiently master of the language to do so without 
blundering ; if we suppose this, and, by way of experiment, 
leave out all that is doubtful, we get, with a single trifling 
alteration : 

" Penitence ... is verray repentaunce of man, that holt 
himself in sorwe and woo for his giltes, .... and stead- 
fastly purposeTH in his hert . . . never to do thing for which 
him oughte more .... to complayne, and to continue in 
goode werkes, or elles his repentaunce may nought awayle." 

!N"ow, everything is clear, there is not one word too 
much, no grammatical mistake. This definition corresponds 
with the two by St Ambrose and ' som doctour,* and yet it 
is better, since it adds something wanting in each. At 
the same time the words ' or elles,' now, in harmony with 
the remainder of Part I., lay stress only upon the reforma- 
tion of heart and life. Of course, the definition no longer 
sounds quite orthodox, on the contrary, rather strongly 
LoUardish^ j — ^but would that make it less suitable for the 
Parson ? 

This is a mere conjecture ; still it may, perhaps, prove 
correct. That something is wrong in I. follows also from 
the want of an answer to * whens it is cleped penitence.' 
It is nowhere to be found in the Tale. 

' XXIV Predigteii Wicliffe's, No. VI. MS. 3928, fol. 143, col. 
4. " Verum concluditur, quod pro nullo peccato suo posset homo 
satisfacere nisi esset immensitas misericordiae Salvatoris. Poenifet 
ergo homo Deo friictuose, et deserat peccata praeterita, et virtute 
meriti Christi et suae gratiae sunt deleta." — (In Lechlevy I. 523.) 



"And now sith that I have declared yow, what thinpr 
is penitence, now schul ye understonde, that )ther ben thre 
acciouns of penitence. The first is, that if a man be bap- 
tized after that he hath synned. Seiiit Augustyn saith, 
but-if he be penitent for his olde synful lif, he may not by- 
gynne the newe clene lif. For certes, if he be baptized 
withoute penitence of his olde gilt, he receyveth the mark 
of baptisme, but nought the grace, ne the remissioun of his 
synnes, til he have repentaunce verray. Another defaute is 
this, that men doon deedly synne after that thay have 
receyved baptisme. The thridde defaute is, that men fallen 
into venial synne after here baptisme fro day to day. Ther- 
of saith seint Austyn, that penitence of goode men,*and of 
humble folk, is the penitens of every day." — p. 265, 1. 19, 
top. 266, 1. 2. 

There are three cases to be enumerated in which an act 
of penitence is needed. The first, " if a man be baptized 
after that he hath synned," is correct ; but what are we to 
think of ' defaute ' ? Is a * defaute ' an act of penitence ? 
If we take * acciones ' to be equivalent to n* workynges ' — as 
we very well may, in fact, must, on account of * acciones 
or workynges ' in the heading— the nonsense becomes still 
worse, since ' workynges of penaunce * may signify practice 
as well as effect of penitence (the German Wirkurtg), Or 
are we to suppose that the author intended to^ say : Bap- 
tism without penitence is ineffective, faulty, a ' defaute ' ; 
other ' defautes ' are the commission of deadly and venial 
sins after receiving baptism % !N"o ; for he meant to speak 
of " acciones or workynges of penaunce," not of defaults or 
defects ! It is no mistake of the copyist's ; is it a bungle ? 
Has he been misled by the passage from St Augustine to 
presume that the question is about things that make bap- 
tism ineffectual 1 Or has he been absurd enough to fancy 
'acciones of penitence' to mean * actions for which peni- 
tence is due"?* We place the comma (1. 21) behind the 
following 'that; and read (11. 30 and 31) : " Another . . . 


is this, if. The thridde ... is that, ^/," supplying : " case 
in which an act of penitence is required." But even then 
the passage is not unobjectionable, Chaucer-like. How 
poor are the definitions ! they remind us of the soldier's : 
'* Pumice-stone is, if we have none, we take sand." There 
is no escape, we must come to the conclusion that this 
passage is spurious too. When we see piety and genius 
throw up such bubbles, I suppose we may be allowed to 


" The spices of penitence ben thre. That oon of hem is 
solempne, another is comune, and the thridde is pryve. 
Thilke penaunce that is solempne, is in tuo jnan^rs ; as is 
to be put out of holy chirche in lente, for slaughtre of 
childre, and such maner thing. Another is, whan a man 
hath synned openly, of whiche synne the fame is openly 
spoken in the contre ; and thanne holy chirche by jugge- 
ment streyneth him to doon open penaunce. Comune 
penaunce is, that prestes enjoynen men comunly in certeyn 
caas, as for to goon, perad venture, naked in pilgrimage, or 
barfot. Prive penaunce is thilk that men doon alday for 
prive synnes, of whiche we schryve us prively, and recey ven 
prive penaunce." — p. 266, 1. 3 — 17. 

The penitence spoken of here is very different from 
that defined in I. ; it is penance, or punishment imposed 
by the Church or one's self, and from 1. 5 this (Eomance) 
form of the word is continually used in consequence. 
* Penaunce,' a contraction of poenitentia, penitence, had 
come to signify only the punishment inflicted by the 
Church, because clerics and laymen used to consider this 
punishment as the principal part of penitence. * Peni- 
tence ' remained still in use with the educated who knew 
its origin and near relation to 'repentance,' and it con- 
veyed to them an idea differing strongly from * penaunce,' 
while the uncultured simply replaced * penitence' by 
' penance,' — the word as well as the idea. In Harl. MS. 
7334 we have always found, till now, the form ' penitence ' 
— with the single exception (p. 264, 1. 14) already men- 

25 i rx. cHAtjgisR a wiclipfite. 

tioned. It is, therefore, to be presumed (and the third 
definition confirms it even in its doubtful form) that 
Chaucer did not confound the two ideas j for down to this 
Part III. repentance has always been considered the first 
requisite of penitence. If we notice, besides, the clumsy 
exemplification, "for slaughtre of childre and such maner 
thing,'* and the definitions which here also are awkward in 
the highest degree, especially the last of them, in which, 
by the repetition of * penaunce ' we get complete nonsense, 
we cannot but doubt this part too. 


"ITow schalt thou understonde what bihoveth and is 
necessarie to verray parfyt penitence ; and this stondith in 
thre thinges, contricioun of hert, confessioun of mouth and 
satisfaccioun. For whiche saith seint Johan Crisostom, 
penitence distreyneth a man to accepte benignely every 
peyne that him is enjoyned with contricioun of herte, and 
schrift of mouth, with satisfaccioun, and in werking of alle 
maner humblete. And this is fruytful penitence agayn tho 
thre thinges, in whiche we wraththe oure Lord Jhesu Crist ; 
this is to sayn, by delit in thinking, by rechelesnes in 
speking, and by wicked synful werkyng." — p. 266, 11. 

Of the four parts of penitence enumerated in the third 
definition (p. 264, 11. 24 — 32) only three are mentioned 
here; the fourth, correction of Kfe, so emphatically en- 
joined in I., is completely passed over. It cannot be meant 
by " werking of alle maner humblete " (1. 25) ; that would 
be a singular way of introducing so important a point ; the 
words are, most probably, a mere circumlocution for exer- 
cises of penance. Does ' satisfaccioun,' perhaps, comprise 
reform of life % We look for the chapter * satisfaccioun.' 
Good works are mentioned there, it is true. But if a new 
life be part of ' satisfaccioun,' why make detailed mention 
of it, by the side of ' satisfaccion ' in I. ? Of course, he who 
didn't make the third definition himself, but only smuggled 


' schrifte and satisfaccioun ' into it, he, and lie alone, could 
consider the new life demanded in I. to be only a part of 
satisfaction, and — overlook it here. 

In turning over the leaves, when looking for ' satis- 
faccioun' {De tertia parte penitential we also perceive 
that the first part of penitence, * contricioun of hert,' fills 
17 pages; the second, 'confessioun of mouth,' 77 (!) ; the 
third, 'satisfaccioun,' 5 pages. More than 99 pages for 
the three subdivisions of IV., while I., II., III., and Y. 
together only require six ! What ? Chaucer, who accord- 
ing to the unanimous opinion of all judges, distinguishes 
himself by a rare symmetry in his productions, is supposed 
to have made such a striking exception in the FarsorHs 
Tale, only to make this Wicliffite parson (as I assume) 
deliver a copious and detailed sermcfn on auricular con- 
fession, which, as we all know, Wicliflfe rejected 1 Our 
suspicion increases in spite of ourselves ! 

After an artificial parallel between penitence and a 
tree, which, with the exception of a few disorderly and il- 
logical passages (in one of which sin is compared with the 
milk of a nurse), is tolerably well worked out, we arrive 
at the details of the three points, * contricioun, confession, 


"In this penitence or contricioun Ta&n schal under- 
stonde foure thinges, that is to sayn, what is contricioun, 
and whiche ben the causes that moeven men to contricioun, 
and how he schulde be contrit, and what contricioun 
availeth to the soule. Thanne is it thus, that contricioun 
is the verray sorwe that a man recey veth in his herte for 
his synnes, with sad purpos to schryve him, and to doo 
penaunce, and never more to don synne." — p. 268, 1. 7 — ^15. 

Penitence or contricioun (1. 7) seems to be a mistake 
in copying, but is not! Eor, 1. 12 ff., we find for con- 
tricioun the third definition of penitence (I.) again, with 
this difference, that, instead of satisfaction, and a new life, 
we have here ■ penaunce ' only, perhaps because the author 


considered submission to ecclesiastical pnnisliments the 
principal thing. In lY. 18 — 21, however, it was dis- 
tinctly said that penitence consisted in three things: 1. 
contrition, 2. confession, 3. satisfaction: Eepeating, there- 
fore, here, for contrition alone, the definition of penitence, 
the author makes a part equal to the ivhole ! 

Was Chaucer such a blockhead ? Or the Parson ? The 
third definition was of itself suspicious ; it does not become 
less so by recurring here in the wrong place. Besides, the 
introductory words " Thanne is it thus, that contricioun " 
(1. 12) sound just like : " Now, after I've made the neces- 
sary alterations, it is thus." 

The three passages coming into collision here : I. 24 
—32; IV. 18—21- IV. i. 12—15, cannot, by any 
means, be all genuine. They all look suspicious; the 
question is only : Are they all spurious, or only one, or 
twoj and if so, which? To proceed safely, we must ex- 
amine them again side by side. 

I begin with the third (IV. i. 12 — 15). It is directly 
opposed, as we have seen, to the enumeration of the three 
things belonging to penitence : 'contricioun,' *confessioun,' 
* satisfaccioun ' (IV. 18 — 21). This definition, besides, is 
but the misplaced repetition of the third definition of 
penitence (I. 24 — 32) which I have already called- in 
question ; and it is clear that whoever interpolated ' schrif fce 
and satisfaccioun ' there, could, by the words ' peniteyice or 
contricioun,' easily be induced to do the same here, the 
more so because the repetition would lay the desired stress 
on the two requisites that appeared to him absolutely 
necessary. The third definition of penitence in I. becom- 
ing thus entangled in the downfall of the definition of 
'contricioun' (IV. 1, a), my conjecture concerning it is 
confirmed. But if ' schrifte and satisfaccioun ' were inter- 
polated in I., the passage IV. 18 — 21, already suspicious 
on account of its passing over the necessity of beginning a 
new life, must needs lose its semblance of genuineness, 


se(3ing that it enumerates these very things as the second 
and third parts of penitence. 

There is, consequently, hardly any doubt that these 
passages are all three spurious. A sad result ! Beluctantly 
we turn to the examination of the other parts of *con- 
tricioun' (lY. t, h, c, d). What is our surprise! 'No 
more inconsistencies, no confusion, no merely outward 
conception of penitence, no idle words, no grammatical and 
stylistic blunders ; — logic, brevity, vigour, genuine feeling, 
enthusiasm ; Chaucer's style and language ! Even a pas- 
sage from his favourite Seneca, whom he quotes 15 times 
in '* Melibee," and the first verse of a French song ! In 
short, all desirable proofs of genuineness, so that the part 
* contricioun ' — with the exception of the impossible defini- 
tion (lY. 1, a) and the end (IV. I, d) of which I shall 
speak presently — appears to be imbedded in the nonsense 
of the other parts like a lump of gold in worthless sand. 

We now recollect the Wicliffite character of the Parson. 
A Wicliffite could very well say " penitence or contricloim^* 
for he did not define penitence in the mere outward sense 
of the Komish Church; to him, repentance or contrition 
was the great thing, the necessary preliminary condition of 
a new life, and its beginning; since on it depends con- 
version of heart. We compare the lump of gold with the 
purified third definition ; it exhausts it completely ! Should 
this part ' contricioun ' be the pith of the Tale ? I think 
so. But to avoid saying the same thing twice, I reserve 
further reasons till I try to reconstruct the Parson's Tale 
in its original form. I only remark here that this Tale 
has also the advantage of being short enough to cor- 
respond with the host's request (Pers. ProL, v. 72 and 73) ; 
while the Parson's Tale in its present form is of an enormous 

Not the whole of Part IV. 1, however, appears to me 
to be genuine : besides the definition I must also challenge 
the last subdivision : 



" The = laste thing that a man schuld understonde in 
contricioun is this, wh^rof availith contricioun? I say, 
that som tyme contricioun delivereth man fro synne; of 
which that David saith, I say, quod David, that is to saye, 
1 purposid fermel}^ to schry ve me, and thou. Lord, relesedist 
my synne. And right so as contricioun availith nat with- 
oute sad purpos of schriffe if man have oportunite, right so 
litil worth is schrifte or satisfaccioun withoute contri- 
cioun i. And, moreover, contricioun destruyeth the prisoun 
of helle, and makith wayk and feble the strengthes of the 
develes, and restorith the yift of the holy gost, and of alle 
vertues, and it clensith the soule of synnes, and delivereth 
the soule fro the peynes of helle, and fro the companye of 
the devel, and fro the servage of synne, and restorith it to 
alle goodes espiritueles, into the companye and communioun 
of holy chirche. And fortherover, it makith him that 
somtyme was soiie of ire, to be the sone of grace ; and alle 
these thinges he provith by holy writte. And therfore he 
that wil sette his herte to these thinges, he were ful wys. 
!For sothe he scholde not thanne in al his lyf have corrage 
to synne, but yiven his body and al his herte to the service 
of Jhesu Crist, and therof do him homage. For certis cure 
swete Lord Jhesu Crist hath sparid us so debonerly in oure 
folyes, that if he ne hadde pite of mannes soule, sory songe 
mighte we alle synge." — ^p. 284^ 1.. 30, to p. 285, 1. 25. 

The words 'som tyme* (p. 284, 1. 32) for one thing, 
mince the originally correct idea ; the passage (Psalm 32, 
5) is not applicable here, for it speaks of confession of 
sin, and consequently belongs to lY. 2, * confessioun,' 
not to lY. 1, d. The sentence 'And right so' (p. 285, 1. 
2 — 5) is hardly possible, because the first part of it has 
not yet been mentioned, much less proved, these things 
being only treated of in TV. 2 and 3. The interpolator has 
evidently lost his way, owing to the wrongly applied Bible- 
passage. Secondly we have (11. 6 — 14) twice nearly the 

1 Tyrwhitt :...."! say that contrition som time delivereth 
man fro sinne : of which David saith ; I say (quod David), I pur- 
posed fermely to shrive me, and thou Lord relesedest my sinne. 
And right so as contrition availith not without sad purpos of schrift 
and satisfaction, right so litel worth is shrift or satisfaction witli- 
ou ten contrition." 


same fourfold fmit. of contrition : Deliverance from hell, 
devil, and sin, re-entering into the state of grace ; and in 
IL 14 and 15 the latter is even mentioned for the third 
time; 'he provith' (L 16) woidd, quite perversely, refer 
either to ' sone of grace,' or * sone of ire/ or — ' the devil ' 
(but, perhaps, the original had ' he prove<i,' and it is merely 
a mistake in copying); jSlnally, the last sentence (11. 2l — 
25) is again quite illogical. The accumulation of '' I say, 
. . . David saith, I say, quod David, that is to saye " (p. 
284, 1. 31 ff.), shows plainly 'what a hard piece of work 
this was for the interpolator. In Tyrwhitt's text the pas- 
sage is a little more tolerable, but we know that Tyrwhitt 
improved the text in many instances ; and even with his 
alteration we cannot believe Chaucer to have written it. 

: The gap made by rejecting this part (TV. 1, d) will be 
filled uj) with the .section at the end of the Tale, in which 
* the fruyt of penitence ' is expounded. 

E'ow follows a new chapter with the heading : " Expli- 
cit prima pars Penitentiae; et incipit secunda pars ejusdem/' 
with which, 77 pages further on, corresponds a similar one : 
"De tertia parte Penitentiae \" 


"The secounde partye of penitence is confessioun, ,that 
is, signe of contricioun. [N'ow schul ye understonde what 
is confessioun; and whethir it oughte needes be doon or 
noon ; and whiche thinges ben convenable to verray con- 
fessioun. First schalt thou understonde, that confes- 
sioun is verrey schewyng of synnes to the prest ; this is to 
sayn verray, for he moot schewe him of alle the condiciouns 
that ben longynge to his synne, as ferforth as he can ; al 
mot be sayd, and nought excused, ne hyd, ne forwrappid ; 
and nought avaunte him of his goode werkis. And f orther- 
more it is necessary to understonde, whens that synnes 
springe, and how thay encresen, and whiche thay ben." — - 
p. 286, 1. 3—17. 

From here, then, the arrangement followed till now is 
given up, and is replaced by that of Part lY. (" Contricioun, 

' In Tyi-whitt they are somewhat different. 



~ Gonfessioun, satisfaccioim "). Thk restilts not only from 
the superscription — that would be of little importance^ 
since any copyist could insert it — but from the dimensions, 
the contents and the handling of the parts "confessioun 
and satisfacciounJ' 


In the "secounde" part of penitence (confessioun) 
three questions are to be considered : a, " What is confes- 
sioun " ? h, " Whethir it oughte needes be doon or noon. " 
c. ^' Whiche thinges ben convenable to verray confessioun." 
The first is answered exaotly in the spirit which caused the 
interpolation of 'schrifte and satisfaccioun ' in L (p. 264, 
1. 24—32), and the repetition of them in lY. 1 (p. 268, 1. 
12— r-16), where they had nothing to do. The answer to 
the second (TV, 2, h: " Whethir, etc.") is nowhere to be 
found ; the third (TV. 2, c : " Whiche thinges, etc.") is dis- 
cussed 71 pages later ! 

The style is in perfect harmony with this conscientious 
and classically clear exposition. With truly sovereign con- 
tempt the manufacturer of this passage defies all gramma- 
tical and stylistic rules, by awkward turns, arbitrary change 
of the agents ye, thou, lie, of the active and passive voice, 
and of the abstract and concrete way of speaking. I'll not 
urge the circumstance, that the coarse energy with which 
an extensive and submissive confession of sins is demanded, 
does not at all agree with the mild character of the Parson 
(General ProL, v. 516: "He was to senful man nought 
dispitous ") ; I only ask : Did Chaucer ever write thus % 


We get a notion, what has become of the answer to 
IV. 2, h ("Whethir it oughte needes be doon or noon"), 
and why the question, IV. 2, c (" Whiche thinges ben con- 
venable to verray confessioun "), is discussed so very late, 
when we find that from the words " And forthermore " 


(p. 268, 1. 14), seven pages are taken^np by a detailed ex- 
planation of the origin of sin, and the diiference between 
venial and deadly sins; and that, after this, 61 pages are 
filled with a tract on the seven deadly sins. In a whole- 
sale business, little bits of goods are easily misplaced and 
lost. The new subject does not begin with a new break, 
probably to cover the forgery the more effectively ; and for 
the same reason, most likely, the real beginning of the 
tract was left out. It almost seems as if, for the purpose 
of interpolating the Parson's Tale, an old stored-up Sermon 
on Penitence was used, and that the Treatise on Sin was 
afterwards inserted to make the whole more complete. 

The origin of sin is shown in the fall of Adam ; then 
an exjDlanation is given of sinful desires in general ; after 
this, there is a. proposal to treat of each single lust. Only 
carnal desire, however, is explained, as the first ; that's all. 
Then the author shows how sin increases. In doing so, he, 
by mistake, mentions the devil as the second cause of the 
growing of sin (p. 289, 1. 30), though only two pages before 
he had been No. 1 (p. 287, 1. 20—21 : '' Here may ye see, 
that dedly synne hsith. first suggestioun of the feend''). 
Eut this unmerited slight is repaired by allowing Beelzebub 
to enter twice : first, armed with a pair of bellows, then 
with a sword. 

After a monstrously long passage, in which 14 succes- 
sive sentences begin with ^ eek whan,' or * eek if (p. 292), 
the venial sins are detailed ; then the interpolator goes on : 

" ]N"ow schal nien understonde, that al be it so that 
noon erthely man may eschiewe alle venial synnes, yit may 
he refreyne hem by the brennyng love that he hath to oure 
Lord Jhesu Crist, and by prayeres, and hi/ confessioun, and 
other goode werhes, so that it schal hut litil greve. For, as 
saith seint Austyn, yif a man love God in such a maner 
that al that ev^r he doth is in the love of God, or for the 
love of God verraily, for he brenneth in the love of God, 
loke how moche that a drope of watir, that fallith in a 
furneys ful of fuyr, annoyeth or greveth the brenninge of 
the fyre, so moche in like manere annoyeth or greveth a 
venial synne unto a man that is perfyt in the love of Jhesu 


Christ. Men may also refreyne venial synne, by the resceyv- 
ing of the precious hody of Jhesu Grist ; hy receyving eeh 
of holy water; by ahnes derle ; by geriei^al confessioun of 
Gonfiteor at masse, and at pryme, and at comply 7i ; and by 
blessing of bisschops and of prestes, and by other goode 
tiferkis:'—^. 293, L H— 30. 

Eead this passage agaia, leaving out the . words in! 
italics, and placing a full stop before ^loke' (1. 21).. We 
then have a great and truly scriptural idea of one cast, 
with a striking figure, in language good enough for any 
pulpit orator- How lame is the twofold mention of ' goode 
werkes ' compared with it ! A person full of burning love 
to Jesus Christ will practi&e prayer and good works as a; 
matter of course ; consequently it is not necessary to men- 
tion them. And what good works are enjoined ? Prayers, 
confession, partaking of the Lord's supper, sprinkling with 
holy water, almsgiving, general confession at mass, at 
morning and. evening prayers, blessing of bishops and 
priests^all of them ritual observances, among which alms, 
perhaps, are only mentioned, because . monks and friars 
received them also. Last of all, ^ other goode werkis' 
make their appearance, as it were, like an insignificant 
appendix. By the first passage in italics, statement and 
argument are needlessly torn asunder, for the same points 
recur afterwards in detail. Why, then, was it inserted? 
Obviously to prepare the way for the second, because other- 
wise the interpolation would have been easily found out, 
I. only quoted the whole passage to show how the mania 
to correct did not even 'spare the Tract on Sin\ because it 
did not seem ecclesiastical enough. 

Now follows the tract on the Seven Deadly Sins, In 
the introduction of it occurs the following sentence : 

.... '*The roote of these seven synnes thanne is pride, 
the general synne and roote of alle harmes. .For of this 
roote springen general braunches : as ire, envye, accidie or 

* . . . . " a translation or rather adaptation of some chapters of 
a work, entitled, ' Li libres roiaux de vices et de vertus ' by Frere 
Lorens."— Tyrwhitt (M., I. 251). 


sleutB.e, avarice or coveitise (to commune understondynge), 
glotonye, and lecclierie i and everich of these synnes hath 
his braunches and his twigges, as schal he declarid in here 
chapitres folwinge.''— p. 2^4:, 1. 3—10. 

Are we to s-nppose that Chaucer was inconsistent 
enough to denounce here pride as the root of all sins, in 
opposition to I Tim. 6, 10, and afterwards (p. 330, 1. 10) 
to quote this very passage of the I^ew Testament ? And ' 
sihpuld not so thorough a judge of the human heart and of 
all its weaknesses have known that pride is more likely to 
keep men from sloth, avarice, gluttony, and unchastity, 
than to produce them ? 

But if the Tract on Sin was by Chaucer, he would have 
committed still another inconsistency. The expression 
* chapitres' in the introduction (p. 294, 1. 10) and p. 308, 
1. 13, as well as the corresponding one, 'this litel tretys,* 
at the end of the tract (p. 354, 1. 32), prove that the 
author conceived the whole Treatise on Sin as something 
written and not delivered by word of mouth 

Without any further consideration, however, these ex- 
pressions cannot be used as proofs of spuriousness, since 
other passages of the Ganterhury Tales seem to offer 
-analogies to them. One of these is in the Prologue to 
Melibee, the other in the Life of St Cecile. 

This makes a little digression necessary. The passage 

in the Prol. to Melibee runs thus : 

V. 37 "though that I telle som what more 

Of proverbes, than ye have herd hifore 
Comprehended in this litel tretys here, 

40. To enforcen with theffect of my matiere, 
And though I not the same wordes say 
As ye have herd, yit to yow alle I pray, 
Blameth me nought ; for, in my sentence, 
Schul ye no wher fynde difference 

45. Fro the sentence of this tretys lite, 
After the which this litil tale I write." 

If we suppose that Chaucer represents himself with the 

then well-lmoion Livre de Melihee et cle dame Prudence, or 

a com^jnlafion from it, in his hand, and pointing to it ; 

declaring that he is going to relate exactly according to the 


contents, if riot in the Yery words of the "tretys," the 
story which some of his hearers, perhaps, had heard before 
(v. 23 and 24 : " Al be it told som tyme in sondry wise of 
sondry folk "), the seeming contradiction of * tretys ' is done 
away with. As to 'write' I believe it to be an inter- 
polation, and that the original reading: was : 

V. 45. " Fro the sentence of this tretys smale^ 
After the which I telle this litel tale^ 

It is very likely that the copyist, either because his 
hand itched to correct the poet, or, more probably, because 
he had, by mistake, written the synonyme * lite,' instead 
of ' smale,' altered the following line to avoid an erasure. 

Of course, this is again a mere conjecture ; but it does 

not affect the sense of the verses, it removes the tasteless 

threefold repetition of the adjective 'litel,' it re-establishes 

the disturbed harmony with the beginning of the Prologue 

in which Chaucer is speaking^ and it dissolves the glaring 

contradiction to the verses immediately following : 

V. 47. " And therfor herheneth what I schal saye, 
And let me tellen al my tale, I praye." 

The expressions * reden ' and ' write ' in the Legend of 
St Cecile^ are pointed out by Tyrwhitt and Ten-Brink'^ to 
prove that the Legend was originally composed as some- 
thing written. Since two such competent judges authorize 
my opinion, I need not add another word. Still, I'll do so. 
There are two real analogies : the very words ' chapitre ' 
and ' tretys '-—the latter as object to ' reden ' ; but they are 
in that part of the Farsonls Tale following the tract on 
Sin (p. 355, 1. 3) and in the Eetractation ! 

If ^, therefore, my conjecture concerning, the Prologue 
to Melibee be admitted, we have to choose, whether we are 

' "Yet pray I you that reden that I write." — Morris, III. p* 30, 
V. 78. 

2 M., I. 240 ; Ten-Brink, Chaucerstudien, 130. 

^ "Your //is the only peace-maker; much virtue in 7/" (^As 
you like it, V. iv. 108). I can't conceive any English Chaucerian 
admitting Mr Simon's conjectural emendation, except as one that 
Chaucer might have made if his attention had been calld to the 
inconsistency of his lines as they stand. — F. 


to suppose that the Parson's Tale was, like the Legend, 
written before, or not originally for, the Ganterbwy Tales; 
or that Chaucer, by a slip of the pen, twice made use of 
these expressions; or that the Tract on Sin^ and what 
immediately follows it, are not by Chaucer. Nobody has 
as yet ventured to declare himself for the first possibility ; 
the second I oppose in spite of the Merchant's Tale, v. 441 
' — 31, for I believe with Mr Furnivall, "that Chaucer was 
not such a muddler or goose as the scribes, editors, and 
critics have made him for five hundred years." Thus we 
have only the third possibility left, which, I hope, I have 
made plausible already, and which will become more 
probable still as we advance. 

For brevity's sake I'll not examine critically each 
separate Deadly Sin and its " Remedmm^' though it would 
be easy to expose, on almost every one of the 61 pages, in-. 
consistencies, digressions, poorness of thought, clumsiness 
of style, and peculiarities of language that seem to point to 
another author than Chaucer 2. One single instance will 
show how the compiler of the tract on this popular and 
much-treated theme is mastered by his subject, instead of 
mastering it. After having discussed, on five consecutive 
pages in the chapter, '^ De Ira," the different kinds of this 
siU;. he begins to speak of cursing and swearing (2 pp. ), 
then of witchcraft and soothsaying (24 11.), then of lying, 
and at last of flattery ! 

* The wif of Bathe, if ye han understonde, 
Of manage, which ye han now in honde, 
Declared hath ful wel in litel space ; 
Fareth now wel, Grod have yow in his grace. 
^ The following words I've not found in any other worEs of 
Chancer : bynymen (p. 288, 1. 6 ; 310, 31 and 33 ; 311, 20 ; 323, 25 
and 30), evencristen (294, 30; 314, 29; 316, 15; 337, 16 and 23), 
anslet and slop (297, 14), eschawfen (308, 26 ; 309, 24 ; 350, 6), 
hokerly (313, 16), wrawe and wrawness (323, 23 and 33), forslow- 
then and forsluggen (324, 20), thurrok (291, 13), ayeinstonde (329, 
18), mawmet (= idol, probably a corruption of Mahomet, 331, 1 \ 
343, 26), contubernially (332, 12), underling (332, 25; 333, 31), 
malisoun (338, 28), holour (318, 4 ; 343, 14), b5^gripe (343, 32), pu- 
tour and putrie (346, 15, 16, 19), houselen (362, 23), &c. 


" Let us now touclie the vice of flaterie, wliich cometh 
not gladly, but for drede, or for coveitise. Flaterie is 
generally wrongful preysing. Flaterers ben the develes 
norices, that norisshen bis children with mylk of losingerie. 
For so the Salamon saith, tbat flaterie is worse than detrac- 
cioun ; for som tynie detraccioun makith a hawteyn man 
be the more humble, for he dredith detraccioun, but certes 
flaterie makith an man to enhaunsen his hert and his coun- 
tenaunce. Flaterers ben the develes enchauntours, for thay 
make man to wene of himself that he is like to that he is 
nought like. Thay ben like Judas, that bitraised God ; 
and thise flaterers bitrayen a man to selle him to his 
enemy, that is the devel. Flaterers ben the develes chape- 
leyns, that singen ay ^ Placebo.^ I rekene flaterie in the 
vices of ire; for ofte tyme if oon man be wroth with 
another, thanne wol he flatere som man to mayntene him 
in his querel."— p. 316, 1. 26 to p. 317, 1. 1—10. 

That flattery is counted among the kinds of ire is 
astonishing enough, but the reason given for it is down- 
right dumbfounding] At the end of the chapter ''Dq 
Ira " (1) seven more sins of the tongue are discussed, among 
which are " idele wordes, jangling and japery " ! And that 
nobody may fancy the author himself had made a bad 
joke, he says in conclusion (p. 321, 11. 4 and 5) : " These are 
the sinnes that cometh of ire, and of other sinnes many 
mo." — This may be enough ! 

The Deadly Sins are : Pride, envy, ire, sloth, avarice, 

gluttony, lechery. The end of the whole Tract on Sin runs 

thus r 

" I^ow after that I have declared yow the seven dedly 
synnes as I can, and some of here braunches, and here 
remedyes, sothely, if I couthe, I wolde telle jov;r the ten 
commaundements ; but so heigh a doctrine I leve to divines. 
But natheles, I hope to God thay ben touchid in this litel 
tretys everich of hem alle."— p. 354, 11. 27—32. 

We don't see how the Parson, who was " a lerned man, 
a clerk" (Gen. Prol., v, 480), can mention the divines in 
opposition to himself i. Coming from an ignorant monk 

* Tyrwhitt long ago saw this inconsistency, but tried to explain 
it by supposing that Chaucer forgot that he himself was not the 
Parson. Great indeed is my admiration for the sagacity and learn- 


who, with great difficulty, had just done patching up a 
poor treatise on sin, these words would be more in charac- 
ter ; nor would it be very unnatural if such a one declared 
that nothing but the difficulty of the subject had prevented 
his adding to this tract of 68 pages, another, perhaps just 
as long, on the 10 commandments. But what are we to 
think of the Parson's making this remark, after having just, 
interrupted his sermon on* penitence by a digression beyond 
all measure ? 

With the following words the author — at last ! returns 
to his subject according to the scheme in TV,, but only to 
put it aside again directly. 

" IlTow for as moche as the secounde part of penitence 
stant ill confessioun of mouth, as I bigan in the firste 
chapitre.'' . . — ^p. 355, 1. 

By the 'firsts chapitre' only that beginning "The 
secounde partye of penitence is confession " (286) can ba 
meant, since no other contains that idea. This "iirste 
cliapitre," however, is headed : '^ Explicit prima x^clts peni- 
te'ntiae ; et incipit secunda pars ejusdem." How, then, can 
the author refer to it with the words, " as I Mgan in the 
firsts chapitre," after having put down the preceding 22 
pages (p. 263 — 285) as prima pars'? Are there two first 
parts % Yes ! Is the second the first % To be sure ! Is it 
possible to begin the second part of a sermon with the first 
part % Of course ! ! All this, and much more, is possible, 
if we insert a whole Tract (on Sin) into this second part, 
and then forget that the first chapter of this Tract cannot 
now be the first of the whole performance too ^. 

I distinguish, then, three different pieces of writing ^ in 
the Parson^ s Tale : 1. Chaucer's '^ De Penitentia,^^ 2. an 
orthodox Sermon on Penitence which served to adulterate 
the former, 3. the Tract on Sin which was inserted to 

ing of this eminent scholar, but I don't think that his solution at 
the expense of the poet is peculiarly happy. 

* The Tract on Sin being alone divided in " chapitres " pointedly 
suggests this assumption. 


make the whole more complete. This at oncie explains the 
pompous headings : " Explicit prima pars/' and " De tertia 
parte Penitentiae," and those of the deadly Seven, the 
quotations from the Vulgata and similar things in the 
Tract on -Sin (while the prima pars in Morris has only 
Jer, vi. 16, and in Tyrwhitt no Latin at all) y the want of 
a break at the beginning of the Tract on Sin (this trick 
was probably intended to cover the transition to a new 
subject) ; the possibility of so long a digression in which 
the original subject is only just mentioned by the way i; 
the conspicuousness of the seams, i. e. the peculiar con- 
fusion where the contrasting patches meet; Tyrwhitt's 
remark (M., I. 251) that the Parson's Tale was " a transla- 
tion, or rather adaptation of a work, entitled Li lihres 
roiaux de vices et de vertus, by Frere Lorens " ; finally the 
difference in grammar and phraseology, to show which the 
space at my command is too limited. 

But to proceed with the Tale ! 

Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity afforded 
here by the return to lY. 2, to bring in, at last, the want- 
ing answer to the question " Whethir it (confession) oughte 
needes be don or noon " (lY. 2, h), the definition of sin, 
and an enumeration of the kinds of it, are given for the 
second time, and two pages are filled with an explanation 
of the circumstances that ought to be noticed in confessing 
the sins against the seventh Commandment. These sins 
have already been treated of with disgusting prolixity in 
the fourteen pages of the chapters "Z)e Luxuria'^ and 
'^ Remedium contra Luxuriam^ Had the author imper- 
ceptibly returned to his favourite theme 1 ]^o ; for the 
Tract does not mention auricular confession ; and this is a 

* In the passage quoted above to show the corrupt form of 
the interpolations (p. 293, 1. 11 — 30), Confession is mentioned as 
a means to avoid venial sins. It is doubtful whether confession 
(1. 15) means auricular confession; 1. 28 it is the ^^ general con- 
fessioun of Confiteor at masse," but in all the other (spurious) parts 
of the Parson^ s Tale auricular confession is spoken of. 


piece of an instruction to confess. Whence, then, conies 
this rag of different colour 1 I can find but one explana- 
tion ; it is a mere conjecture, and I give it as such. This 
new interlude fills exactly a leaf. Did the interpolator, 
when arranging the leaves of the Tract for insertion, by 
mistake catch hold of a leaf of some Instruction to confess 
which thus got into the place of lY. 2, h 1 Without this 
supposition, I am at a loss to account for the appearance of 
this heterogeneous shred instead of lY. 2, h ; with it, my 
opinion that another already extant orthodox .sermon on 
Penitence was used to interpolate Chaucer's "Z)e Peni- 
tefttia " appears to be confirmed. For it is not likely that 
the author of the orthodox work should have committed 
such a blunder in composing it, and still less probable that 
Chaucer himself should have done so. I'm aware that the 
absence of the answer to the question : " Whethir it (con- 
fession) oughte needes be don or noon," seems to argue 
against a falsification of the Tale. Seems! For I don't 
say that it was left out intentionally ; and an accidental 
omission was the more possible, considering the large 
amount of material used, and the fact that in the other 
parts, lY. 2, a and c, the necessity of confession is 
repeatedly urged. This occasional injunction, however, 
does not get rid of the question which was to form a 
separate Part lY. 2, & ; on the contrary, it is, and remains, 
passed over. 


" Thanne schal men loke it and considre, that if he wol 
make a trewe and a profitable confessioun, ther moste be 
foure condiciouns." — p. 362, 1. 24. 

It will be well to remember that there are four con- 
ditions to a true confession. The first of them is 


a. Bitter nesse of herte. 

This has again five "signes": shamefastness (p. 357, 
11. 26 and 27), humility (358, 5 f.), tears (358, 27 f.), pub- 
licity (358, 33 — 359, 5), obedience " to resceyve the pen- 
aunce"(359, 5ff.). 

In the second " signe," humility, occurs the following 

. . . . " thanne schulde nought the confessour sitte as 
lowe as the synnere, but the synnere schulde knele biforn 
biin, or at his feet," . . .—p. 358, 1. 17—20.. 

How does this agree with the General Prologue 

V, 516. " He was to sinful man nought dispitous '* 

V. 525. " He waytud after no pompe ne reverence " t 

j3. Haste. 

" The other cpndicioun of verray confessioun is that it 
hastily be doon ; . . . . 

. . . "Haste has four ^hinges': (1.) First thy schrifte 
moste ben purveyed byforn, and avysed, for wikked haste 
doth no profyt ; and that a man can schryve him of his 
synnes, be it of pride or of envye, and so forth alle the 
spices and the circumstaunces ; (2.) and that he have com- . 
prehendid in his mynde the nombre and the gretnes of his 
synne, and how longe that he hath leyn in syune ; (3.) and 
eek that he be contrit of his sinnes, and in stedefast pur- 
pos (by the grace of God) never eft to falle in synne ; (4.) 
and eek that he drede and countrewayte himself, and that 
he flee the occasiouns of synne, to which e he is enclyned. 
(5.) Also that thou schalt schrive the of alle thin synnes 
to oon man, and nat a parcel to oon man, and - a parcel to 
another 1 man; that is understonde, in en tent to parte thy 
confessioun as for schame or drede for it nys but strangel- 
yng of thy soule. For certes, Jhesu Crist is enterely al 
good, in him is noon imperfeccioun, and therfore outher he 
foryiveth al parfitely, or elles never a del. I sa}^ nought, 
if thou be assigned to thy penitencere for certein synne, 
that thou art bounde to schewe him al the remenaunt of 
thy synnes, of whiche thou hast ben schryven of thy 
curate, but-if it like the of thin humilite ; this is no de- 
partyng of schrifte. !N"e I ne say not, there as 1 speke of 
divisoun of confessioun, that-if thou have licence to schryve 

' Tyrwhift : " and not parcelmele to o man, and parcelmele to 


the to a discret and to an honest prest, wher the likith, and 
eek by the licence of thy curate, that thou ne maist wel 
schrive the to him of alie thyn synnes ; but let no synne 
he hehinde untold as fer as thou hast rememhraunce. And 
whan thou schalt the schrive to thi curate, telle him eeke 
al thy synne that thou hast doo sith thou were last 
i-schryve. This is no wikkid entent of divisioun of 
schrifte."~-p. 35^, 1. 10, to p. 360, 1. 1—32. 

After having removed the mistakes that may he ascribed 
to the copyist, and rendered the construction supportable^ 
we have the fundamental idea: 'True confession must be 
done in time, but not in a hurry and inconsiderately ; with, 
a repenting heart, a firm purpose henceforth to avoid sin, 
and before one priest, unless a dispensation be obtained to 
confess -to several.' But how awkwardly and confusedly 
is it expressed I The momentary idea, suggested by the 
hint at reforming, that what was concluded above from 
the neglect of this point might yet be erroneous, must be 
dismissed immediately. How in the world could the Par-r 
son have treated the most important points (repentance 
and reforming) so superficially, if he intended to mention 
them here at all ; how could he have thrown them into 
one heap with such an unseemly long discussion of a 
purely outward and, as it were, technical question (' divi- 
sion of schrifte ') 1 How could the fact that " Crist is 
enterely al good, .... and therfore outher foryiveth al 
parfitely, or elles never a del ". be made the reason why all 
must be confessed to one priest 1 If we notice, besides, 
that instead of four ^^thinges" there are at least five, that 
here again the author suddenly leaves the abstract way of 
speaking, and unjustifiably starts from the second to the 
third person, and from the third to the second again, we 
may well say that the mere flash of a thought that Chaucer 
could have written in this manner, would be high treason 
against genius. 


" Also thy verrey schrifte askith certeyn condiciouns. 
First, that thou schrive the by thy fre wille, nought con^ 


streyned^ ne for schame of folk, ne for maladye, or &ucli 
thing ; for it is resoun, that he that trespassith with his 
fre wille, that by his fre wille he confesse his trespas ; and 
that noon other man schal telle his synne but himself ; ne 
he schal wol naye it or denye his synne, ne wraththe him 
with the prest for his amonestynge to lete synne. The 
secounde condicioun is, that thy schrifte be laweful, that is to 
sayn, that thou that schri vest the, and eek the prest that herith 
thy confessioun, ben verrayly in the feith of holy chirche, 
and that a man be nought despaired of the mercy of Jhesu 
Crist, as Caym or Judas."— p. 360, 1. 33, to p. 361, 1. 1—13. 

We are not told what " condicioun " this is. It ought 
to be the third ; but the author being puzzled by the great 
number of a,rtificial divisions and subdivisions, now calls 
"condicioun" what, corresponding with a and /3, should 
be called " signe " or " thing," and merrily begins to count 
from one again, as if such a category had never been men- 
tioned before. Here also he jumps, without any reason, 
from the second person into the definite third, then into 
the second again, and at last into the indefinite third. 
Finally, the admonitions not to be angry with the priest 
(1. 17), and not to despair of mercy (11. 13 and 14) are quite 
heterogeneous to what precedes and follows them. 

The rest of the part contains a very prolix and awkward 
caution against unnecessarily exposing others by one's own 

In this part also the number of the " condicioun " in 

question is forgotten. It begins with an admonition not 

to confess sins that one has not committed (the confessor 

does not wish to be made a fool of !), not to confess by 

letter, nor to excuse anything. It then runs on : 

..." thou moste telle it platly, be it never so foul ne 
so horrible. Thou schalt eek schrive the to a prest that is 
discrete to counsaile the ; and thou schalt nought schryve 
the for veinneglorie, ne for ypocrisie, ne for no cause but 
only for the doute of Jhesu Crist and the hele of thy soule. 
Thou schalt not eek^ renrie to the prest sodeinly, to telle 

* Why not '"neither", which is very frequently used by 


liim lightly thy synne, as who tellith a tale or a jape, but 
avysily and with gret devocioun ; and generally schrive the 
ofte ; " . . . —p. 362, 11. 6—15. 

There is no harm in confessing the same sin twice; 
confess at least once a year ! 

Again a mere disorderly stringing together of tediously 
culled and incoherent directions to confess, most of which 
have been given before. The wretched diction of this 
passage is in perfect harmony with its pitiful contents, and 
the whole is a true miniature likeness of the 77 pages-long 
so-called " second part," confessioun, which ends here. 


The next part is headed '■ De tertia parte Penitentiae,^^ 

It begins (p. 362, 1. 26): 

" Kow have I told of verray confessioun, that is the 
secounde party e of penitence. The thridde partye of peni- 
tence is satisfaccioun, and that stondith generally in almes- 
dede and bodily peyne. ISTow ben ther thre maner of 
almesdede; contricioun of herte, where a man offereth 
himself to God ; the secounde is, to have pite of the de- 
faute of his neighebor ; the thridde is, in yeving of good 
counseil and comfort, gostly and bodily, where men han 
neede, and namely in sustenaunce of mennes foode." — 
361, 1. 1. 

There can be no doubt that this is really the third sub- 
division of ly. (lY. 3, * satisfaccioun'), but, true to the 
substitution of the scheme of TV. for that of the whole, it 
is called the third part. From the very outset of this part 
confusion reigns supreme. !Not only do we find (p. 362, 
1. 31 f.) 'contricioun of herte' (lY. 1) here under 'satis- 
faccioun ' (lY. 3), but the compass of our knowledge is also 
enlarged by two unexpected discoveries ; for the assertion 
that contrition and compassion are two species of " almes- 
dede " is, no doubt, as new as the other, that we can 
vouchsafe alms to God by offering oiirselves to him. 

But perhaps the copyist is responsible for this confusion, 
and not the author. Harl. 7334 does not say "thre 
maner" (p. 3D), Morris has made up the deficiency from 


3,nother MS. If we. read "thre condiciouns,^' part of the 
nonsense is done away with. This, however, by no means 
makes Part lY. 3 correct. Thus in . 


the caution not to leave off giving alms, if it cannot be 
done in secret,- is supported quite thoughtlessly by Mattli. 
V. 14. If the passage really referred to almsgiving, it 
would, in opposition to Matth. iv. 3 and i, strictly enjoin, 
publicity; but it refers, together with the expression 
' works,' to the propagation of the gospel and a Christian 
life in general, as we may infer, plainly enough, from the 
preceding *^ You are the light of the world." He who 
quoted the passage ought to have known that. But, of 
course, the interpolator was not well versed in the Bible, 
like the Parson. 


" !N'ow as to speke of bodily peyne, it is in prayere, in 
wakinges, in fastynges, in vertuous teachinges." — p. 363, 
I; 28. 

. The beginning of this part, though extremely dry, is 

tolerable, except that prayer and a virtuous life cannot well 

be called a ' bodily peyne.' In the argument of the fourth 

point we find the usual confusion again : 

"Thanne schal thou understonde, that bodily peyne 
stant in discipline, or teching, by word, or by writyng, or 
by ensample. Also in weryng of heires or of sfcamyii or of. 
haberjeouns on her naked ileisch for Cristes sake, and suche 
maner penaunce ; but ware the wel that such maner pen- 
aunce of thyn fleisch make nought thin herte bitter or 
angry, or anoyed of thiself ; for better is to cast away thin 
hayre than for to caste away the swetnes of oure Lord 
Jhesu Crist. And therfore seith seint Poule, clothe yow, 
gfcs thay that ben chosen of G-od in herte, of misericorde, 
debonairete, sufferaunce, and such maner of clothing, of the 
which Jhesu Crist is more appayed than of haires or of 

" Than is discipline eek in knokkyng on the brest in 
s,courgyng with yerdes, in knelynges, in tribulaciouns, in 


suffring paciently wronges that ben doon to him and eek in 
pacient sufferaunce of maledies, or lesyng of worldly catel, 
or of wif, or of child, or of othir frendes." — p. 365, 1. 18 — 
p. 366, 1. 5. 

'Discipline* is understood here to mean penance. 
Though, in this signification it has nothing whatever to do 
with teaching, it is thrown together with it (1. 19), owing 
to its lingual affinity with discere, discipulus, etc. The 
result is a succession of ideas quite incompatible with 
logical thinking. The passage Coloss, iii. 12, too, does not 
at all speak of penance; it cannot, therefore, prove what 
it is quoted for. 


"Thanne schalt thou understonde whiche thinges 
destourben penaimce, and this is in f oure thinges ; that is 
drede, schame, hope, and wanhope, that is, desperacioun." — 
p. 366, 1. 6—9. 

1. Drede, 

" And for to speke first of drede, for which he weneth 
that he may suffre no penaunce, ther agayns is remedye for 
to thinke that bodily penaunce is but schort and litel at 
the regard of the pejTie of helle, that is so cruel and so 
long, that it lastith withouten ende." — p. 366, 1. 9 — 14. 

This is the beginning of the last part according to the 
scheme given on p. 264, 11. 11 — 17. Penitence, as we have 
seen in the third definition (p. 264, 11. 24 — 32), comprises 
repentance, schrift, satisfaction (i. e. penance), and reform- 
ing ; here, however, it is confounded, as often before, with 
penance (= punishment), and 11. 7, 10 and 11 this term is 
used accordingly. With this confusion of ideas correspond 
" whiche thinges destourbe7^ penaunce, and this is in foure 
thinges" (p. 366, 1. 6 £), and the repeatedly employed 
* he ' (11. 9 and 10) which comes like a thunderbolt from a 
clear sky, as nobody has been mentioned to whom it could 



2. Sehame, 

" Now agains the schanie that a man hath to schryve 
him, — and namely these ypocrites, that wolde be holde so 
parfytthat thayhare no neede to sehry ve hem, — -agains that 
schame schulde a man thinke, that by way of resoim he 
that hath not ben aschamed to do foule f hinges, certis him 
otighte not be asehained to doon faille thingiBs and goode 
thinges, and that is confessionn. A tiian scholde eek thinke, 
that ^ God seeth and knoweth alle thy thoughtes and thy 
werkes ; to him may no thing be hyd ne covered/ Men 
sehulde eek remembre* hetn of the schame that is to come at 
the day of doom, ta hem. that ben nonght penitent and 
schriven in this present lif ; for alle the creatures in heven^ 
and in erthe, and in helle, schuln seen apertly al that they 
hydith in this world."— p. 366, 1. 15—30. 

In V. vlr& were to fearn " whiclie thinges destourben 
penalise," and Sh^me is numbered as the second of them. 
Having just witiiessed (in T. 1, Drede)' that the author 
took * penaunce * in the sense of punishment, we are at a 
loss to conceive how he can mention Shame here as a hind- 
rance to shrift only ; since it most certainly also deters men 
from suffering punishment, which in many cases would be 
more exposed to the eyes of the world than auricular con- 
fession, and excite more mockery too. 

Here the incongruence of ' thinges ' and ' confessioun ' 
(21) may be removed by reading ^ swich ' instead of * that.' 

After 6. hope and d, ivariliope have been treated of, the 
Fersoties Tate ends with a short meditation on the fruit of 

''Thanne schal men with his precious blode. 

Amen."— p. 368, 1. 6—26. 

IVe already remarked that I consider this part the 
genuine finale of Chaucer's Persones Tale, Here are my 
rea^ns : 

Kobody, I suppose, will deny that it is a genuine part, 
for it is certainly one of the best : short, pithy, full of con- 
viction and enthusiasm, without any inconsistencies in it- 
self or with the Parson's character, and, with tha exception 


of some trifles, faultless. Tkese trifles are : * penaunce ' for 
* penitence' (1. 7), four superfluous 'as' (il, 12, 13, 15), 
' of for 'and' (20). After- having set down to the charge 
of the copyist so many, and more important things in the 
spurious parts, we may also be allowed to put these trifles 
to his account in favour of a genuine one. Secondly, I 
hope I have proved the impossibility of Part lY. l,d being 
genuine; and there is no other piece,, save this one, that 
could take its place. Thirdly, the present ending is neither 
foreseen in the original scheme (p. 264, 1. 11 — 17) nor in 
that of IV. (p. 266,. 11. 20 and 21), since neither of them 
says a word about iruit of penitence ; on the other hand, it 
is very proper as IV. l,,d; for it makes little difference, 
whether it is introduced by " Wherof availith eontricioun," 
or, as it is here, by : " What is the fruyt of j)enitence " — 
penitence and contrition having been equalized in IV. 1 by 
"penitence or eontricioun." Finally, the motive to displace 
the genuine IV. 1, c? is not wanting : The genuine introduc- 
tion of the Tale had been preserved, and it was now pro- 
vided with a genuine end part also, in order tbe more easily 
to cover the falsification. 

The so-called " Eetractation " does not belong to the 
Persones Tale, but, according to Tyrwhitt,^ is to be found 
in all complete MSS. In Morris it is headed *^ Preces de 
Chauceres," and in Askew MS. I. it begins : " Here taketh 
the maker his leve," and ends : " Here endeth the Persones 
Tale " (!) ; in Caxton's second edition it is separated from 
the Tale, and superscribed " The Prayer " ; in other MSS. it 
is also separated, but without a heading. It is so well 
known^ that I need not copy it. The name of Eetractaf ioii 
was given it by Urry. 

Tyrwhitt says (p. 584) : 

" Mr Hearne, whose greatest weakness was not his in- 
credulity, has declared his suspicion, * that the Eevocation 
... is not genuine, but that it was made by the Monks.' 

' C. T., 583, Note 2. 


App. to Rob. Gloster, p. 603. ... I think, if the Monks 
had set about making a Revocation for Chaucer . . . , they 
would have made one more in form ; " but he immediately 
adds : " The same objection lies to the supposal, that it was 
made by himself." 

He continues : 

"The most probable hypothesis which has occurred to 
me for the solution of these difficulties, is to suppose that 
the beginning of this passage, except the words * or reden. 
it' in p. 582, 1. 28, and the end, make the genuine con- 
clusion of the Persones Tale, and that the middle part . . . 

is an interpolation The doubt expressed in 1. 30, ' if 

there be anything that displeaseth,' is very agreeable to the 
manner in which the Persone speaks in his Prologue, ver. 
17366. The mention of * verray penance, confession and 
satisfaction * in p. 583, 1. 12, seems to refer pointedly to 
the subject of the speaker's preceding discourse, and the 
title given to Christ in p. 583, 1. J. 5, * Preste of all Prestes ' 
seems peculiarly proper in the mouth of a priest. . . * With 
respect to the middle part, I think it not improbable that 
Chaucer might be persuaded by the Religious who attended 
him in his last illness, to revoke, or retract, certain of his, 
works; or at least that they might give out, that he had 
made such Retractations as they thought proper . . . . , and 
that the same zeal might think it expedient to join the 
substance of these Retractations to the C. T., the antidote 
to the poison." Further proofs adduced by him for the 
correctness of his hypothesis are that in the enumeration of 
his works the * Legende of Good Women ' is erroneously 
called * The Boke of the five and twenty Ladies,' that the 
Canterhury Tales are only mentioned in a general manner, 
and that the ' Roman de la Rose ' is omitted entirely. ^ 

I perfectly agree with his argument for supposing an 
interpolation j I take it for granted, however, that Tyrwhitt 
supposed the Ganterhury Tales to have been published 
piece by piece, for otherwise it would have been more 
reasonable to destroy the * poison ' than to add an antidote. 
The rest appears to me to stand on a weak foundation ; for 
his reasons for the spuriousness of a part of the Retracta- 
tion will serve as well to prove the spuriousness of the 

* In opposition to this he says (M., I. 251, § XLI.) : " The re- 
cital, which is made in one part of it of several compositions of 
Chaucer, could properly be made by nobody but himself," 


whole ; and his helief that part of the Eetractation is 
genuine is founded on the supposition that the whole Per- 
sones Tale is genuine — a supposition the improbability of 
which I venture to hope I have made evident, showing, at 
the same time, that exactly those parts in which " verray 
penaunce, confessioun and satisf accioun " are demanded, 
bear very strong marks of spuriousness. In my opinion, 
then, these terms afford but a hint that he who adulterated 
the Persones Tale crowned his ignoble work by adding the 

For better survey of the whole question, I here give the 
skeleton of ih.Q Persones Tale in its present form. Those 
parts which I consider genuine are in black letter; the 
numbers in the margin refer to Morris's edition ; my remarks 
are in brackets. 

263^ Introlittctiom 

264 (Subject:) penitence. 

I. What i0 p^enit^na, anb inhBn0 it x& dep^b i^twx- 

II. And in what maner, and in how many maneres 
been the acciones or workynges of penannce. 

III. And how many spices ben of penitences. 

IV. And whiche thinges apperteinen and byhoven to 

V. And whiche thinges destourben penitence. 

Jefiititioix att0ririjt§ ia St. ^mbrosi^. 

„ ,, i\t pjersoue (partly spurious). 

(The answer to " whens it is cleped penitence " is wanting.^) 

* The answer may possibly have been ■ " Penitence is called so 
from poena, punishment, because we deserve punishment for our 
sins ; but since Christ has suffered the punishment for us, God de- 
mands only contrition of us. Hence penitence now means contri- 
tion.'' This would at once account for the singular expression 
" penitence OR contricioun " (p. 268, 1. 7), as well as for the omis- 
sion of this Wiclif&te answer to the question " Whens it is cleped 
penitence." (Compare Note, p. 249.) 


265 II. Ther ben thre acciouns of penitence. 

1. If a man be baptized after that be batb synned. 

i2. Anotber depute is this, that men doon deedly 
synne after that thay have receyved baptisme. 
3. The thridde defaute is, that men fallen into 
venial synne after here baptisme. 

266 III. The spices of penitence ben thre, 

1. Oon of them is solempne. 

a. To be put out of holy chirche in lente. 
1). Open penaunce for open synnes. 

2. Comune penaunce. 

3. Prive penaunce. 

IV. What bihoveth and is necessary to verray parfyt 
penitence : 

1. Contricioun of herte, 

2. Confession of mouth, 

3. Satisfaccioun. 

(Comparison between penitence and a tree.) 

268. 1. In thi0 iptvditntt 0r jccntrid^nn mtw 0rhal 
nnbtr^tonlie fonre^ tkinp^. 

a. What is contricioun. (= Parson's 
definition of penitence.) 

mux ia tmixmamx, 
a. %mmx sd^nl xzmmbxz l^m xrf l^is 

269 (Quotation frqm Seneca.) /3. ?ISI^0 SO hotl^ S^lXTXt, XS H^XUl vi 

270 y. ^xtl:it oi t\(t bag of boontje mtb 

ij^t 0rriHe .l^ti^m$ of l^dk. 
277 ^. ffj^e snrfoful xtmtmhxmmt oi il^t 

279 r Prenshe song.") 000^ tl^Vd l^t |fatl^ Mt to boOtt 

\tzx iit tortljc, mxh Itk il^z goob 
i^nt \t l^atg lont. 
«. f l^e xtmtmhxmna of l^e pa^siouti 
ti^al anxt A« ©rb |. €^x, sufeb 
for m anb for mxt sgmtes. 

* Contrition being = penitence (" penitence o?' contricioun "), 
and the definition of penitence having been given before, the ques- 
tion " What is contricioun," or, at least, the answer to it, appears 
to be superfluous. 


2S2 f . flje l^oyt of fox]stbtm$ oi B^nm, 

(Reform of life.) l^e gifte of ^XUU fed iot tO lHO, 

283 (**^someaoctours.") c. |n Wjat mnmx stl^al be l^i$ towlri- 


284 (T?. Wherof availith contricioun. (In- 

stead of it : ^z frugt of p^ii- 

'^ Explicit prima pars penitential; et incipit secunda 
' ejusdem,^^ 

286 2. ConfessioTm. 

a. What is confessioun. (Illogical and un- 
grammatical definition.) 

'286 ^Tract^TsVl; ' * • " -^^^l forthermoie it is necessary to 
but no break;) undcrstonde, whens that synnes springe, 
and how thay encresen, and whiche thay 
ben '* (venial and dedJy). 
293 Whiche ben dedly synnes. 

(.-.. . "schal be declarid in here cliapi- 
^\ #/*€^(!) folwinge.'*) 

'^ 294 a. DeSuperbia.Remedium contra Superbiam. 

303 /3. De Invidia. „ „ Invidiam. 

308 y. De Ira. „ „ Iram. 

323 Z. De Aceidia. „ ., Accidiam. 

330 €. De Avaritia. „ ,, Avaritiam. 

.338 i;, De Gula. „ „ Gulam. 

, 341 — ^354 t}. De Luxuria. ,, „ Luxuriam. 

(. . . " thay ben touchid in this litel tretys (!) 
everich of hem alle.") 
355 (Confused transition : " Now for as moche as the 
seconde part of penitence stant in confessioun of mouth, 
as I higan in the first cJiapjitre . . . ") 

b, Whethir it oughte needes be doon or noon. 
(This second part of Confession is wanting entire- 
ly ; instead of it : Eules for the confession of sins 

355 against the seventh commandment — "!N^ow it is good 
to understonden — parforme it." — p. 357.) 

357 c. Whiche thinges ben convenabxe to verray 

confessioun. Q^ foure condiciouns") 
a. Bitternesse of herte. (With "fyve 
aa. Schame. 

358 hb, Humilite. 
ce, Teeris. 

dd. " That he lette nought for schame 
to schewen his confessioun." 


ee, " That a man or womman be obeis- 
saunt to rescey ve the penaunce, etc. " 

359 /3. Haste. (With "foure thinges.") 

aa. " Thy schrifte moste ben purveyed 
byforn, etc." 

360 hh, "That he have comprehendid the 

nombre and gretnes of hys synne.'* 
cc. " That he be contrit of his synnes." ( !) 
dd. "That he drede and countrewayte 

himself, etc." 

(Appendix : Confess to one priest. 22 lines.) 

360 y . " Also thy verray schrifte askith certey n 

condiciouns." (!) 

361 aa. fre wille. 

M, " that thy schrifte be lawefol (2de 
d. " Make no lesyng in thy confessioun." 

(Other rules follow without order. Part IV. 2, Con- 
fession, fills nearly 77 pages.) 

362 " Z)e tertia parte PenitenfiaeJ'' 

3. Satisfaccioun. 

a. Almesdede. 

363 b. Bodily peyne. 

a. Prayere. 

/3. Wakyng (3 lines and 1 word). 
365 y. Pastynge. 

d. ('* Discipline, o?- tecliing^^ (•) ^1 lines, 
teching without argument.) 
aa, weryng of heires, or of stamin, or of 

' hh. knokkyng on the brest. 
cc. scourgyng with yerdes. 
dd, knelynges. 
ee, tribulaciouns. 
ff. suffring paciently wronges. 
gg. pacient sufferaunce of maledies. 
hh. lesyng of wordly catel, or of wif, or 
of child, or of othir frendes. 

(The whole Part lY. fills more than 99 pages.) 

Y. Whiche thinges destourben penaunce. 

1. Drede. 

2. Schame. 

3. Hope. 

366 (mere enumeration.) 


367 4. Wanhope. 

a. In the mercy of Crist. 
&. " that he schulde not longe persevere 
in goodnesse." 

368 %\t frugt 0f ymHtttrtje. 

(This part, which is not mentioned in the scheme, I 
take to he the genuine lY. 1, d.) 


This skeleton, in spite of its ichthiosanrus-like aspect, 
enahles us to see at a glance that it wanted very little skill 
to perpetrate the fraud. The interpolator took an orthodox 
sermon on penitence, inserted the scheme of it after 
Chaucer's introduction, made the Parson's definition of 
penitence orthodox, by adding *schrifte' and *satisfac- 
cioun'; employed the substance of the original Tale as 
Part lY. 1, " Contricioun." The part beginning " In this 
penitence or contricioun" being thus separated from the 
definition of penitence (p. 264, 1. 24 — 33) by an interpola- 
tion of 2 1 pages, he repeated here (in the wrong place) the 
Parson's definition of penitence with his own additions. 
In order to have a genuine conclusion, he placed the part 
" Fruyt of penitence " at the end of his Tale, and filled the 
gap as well as he could (lY. 1, <^ ; finally, to remove all 
doubt about Chaucer's conversion, he added the Eetracta- 
tion. The Tract on Sin (most likely a translation from Li 
lihres roiaux) was afterwards inserted to make the whole 
more complete and exhaustive. 

I now give what I consider the original Tale. The in- 
terpolations are in italics and between parentheses ; the few 
alterations I propose are in large type and, when necessary, 
supported by notes. 

The Persones Tale. 

(Jer, 6^. State super vias, et videte et interrogate de 
semitis antiquis quae sit via bona, et ambulate in ea, et in 
venietis refrigerium animabus vestrisy etc.) 


Owre swete Lord God of heven, that no man {loil) pe- 
rische, but {tool) that we comen alle to the knowleche of 
him, and to the blisful lif that is perdurable, ammonestith 
us by the prophet Jeremy e, that saith in this wise : Stond- 
eth upon the weyes, and seeth and axeth of olde pathes, 
that is to sayn, of old sentence, which is the goode way, and 
walketh in that weie, and ye schul fynde refresshyug for 
youre soules (, etc). Many ben the weyes espirituels that 
leden folk to oures Lord Jhesu Crist, and to the regno of 
glorie ; of whiche weyes, ther is a ful noble way, and f ul 
covenable, which may not faile to man ne to womman, that 
thorugh synne hath mysgon iro the righte way to Jeru- 
salem celestial; and this wey is cleped penitence. Of 
which men schulden gladly herken and enquere with al 
here herte, to wyte what is penitence, and whens it is 
cleped penitence (, and in what manei', and in hoio many 
maneres heen the acciones or workynges of penaunce, and 
how rriany spieces ben of penitences, and whiche fliinges ap- 
perteynen and hyhoven to penitence^ and whiche ihinges 
destourben penitence). 

Seint Ambrose saith, that penitence is the pleynyng ot 
man for the gult that he hath doon, and no more to do ony 
thing for which him oughte to pleyne. And som dpctour 
saith, penitence is the waymentynge of man that sprweth 
for Ms synne, and peyneth himself for he hath mysdoon. 
Penitence (, wiih certeyn circvnnstaunces,) is verray repent- 
aunce of man, that holt himself in sorwe and in woo for his 
giltes ; {and for he schal be verray penitent, he schal first 
hywaile the synnes that he hath do) and stedfastly pur- 
poseth. in 'his hert {to haven schrifte of mouth, and to doon 
satisfaccioun, and) never to do thing for which him oughte 
more {to bywayle or) to complayne, and to, continue in 
goode werkes, or elles his repentaunce may nought avayle. 
{For, as saith seint Isidre, he is a japere and a gdbbere, and 
no verray repentaunt, that eftsoone doth thing for tvhich 
him oughte to repente, Wepynge, and nought for to stynte 
to doon synne, may nought avayle. But natheles, men schal 
hope that at every tyme that man fallith, be it never so ofte, 
tliat he may arise thorugh penitence, if he have grace ; but 
certeyn it is a gret doute. For as saith seint Gregory, un- 
nethe arist he out of his synne that is charged loith the 
charge of yvel usage.) And therfore repentaunt folke that.. 
stinte for to synne, and forlete synne er that synne forlete 
hem 1 holy chirche holt hem siker of her savacioun. And 
he that synneth, and verraily repentith him in his last 
ende, holy chirche yit hopeth his savacioun, by the grete 

' Poctour's T., V. .280. 


mercy of oure Lord Jhesn Crist, for his repentaunce ; but 
take ye the siker way.— p. 263, 1. 16, to p. 265, 1. 17. 
(And notv sith . . , . to p. 268, 1. 6 : Salomon'^), 
in this penitence or contricionn men schal understonde 
thre^ thinges, that is to sayn, (what is contrkioun, and) 
whiche ben the causes that moeven men to contricioun, and 
how he schulde be contrit, and what contricioun availeth 
to the soule. (Thanne is it thus, that . . . . to p. 268, 1. 25, 

The causes that oughten to moeve a man to contricioun 
ben vj. First a mail schal remembre him of his synnes j 
but loke that thilke remembraunce be to no delyt of him 
by no way, but gret schame and sorwe for his gilt. For Job 
saith that synful men doon werkes worthy of contricioun^. 
And therfor saith Ezechiel, I wol remembre me alle the 
yeres of my Iji, in bitternesse of myn herte ... p. 269, 1. 9, 
for ye trespassen so ofte tyme, as (dotJi) the hound (^/za^) ^ torn- 
eth to ete his spewyng ; line 33. Ne a fouler thral may 
270, 1. no man . . . „ 33. remembre me of the day 
271,1. of doom . . . „ 33. the world al brennyng. 
272,1. Whider . . . „ 33. develes that 

273, 1. him tormenten . „ 33. hondes of al 

274, 1. her tresor. . . „ 33. he hateth his 

275, 1. soule . . . . „ 33. here deth schai 

276, 1. alway lyven . . „ 33. delivere hem 

277, 1. fro peyne . . „ 33. wrought, 

278, 1. ne schuln . . „ 33. that no 

279, 1. goode werkes . „ 20. rekenyng. 

279, 21. The fifte thing that moeveth a man to contricioun^, 
is the remembraunce . line 33. of the foule mowes 

280, 1. and of ... „ 27. rebel to God, 

.28. therfore is man worthy to have sorwe (, and to he 

29. This suffred oure Lord . line 33. as mochil as resoun 

281, 1. of man „ 33. viley- 

282 1. nously byspit^ . . . „ 33. of synne ; I 

* In the place of this interpolation there was perhaps some ex- 
planation of the word * penitence,' to the effect that penitence is 
equivalent to contrition. See note, p. 279. 

^ The text has * I'oure ' ; see, however, note, p. 280. 
^ The interpolator has replaced it by * confessioun,' which ii. 
obviously wrong. 

* The interpolations make the sense ridiculous. 

•' The reading of the text (11. 21 and 22) is : "The fifte mane?' 
of contricioun, that moeveth a man tlierto " — an awkward correc- 
tion of what seems to have been a slip of the copyist's pen. 

6 Death is not treated of till p. 281, 1. 6. - 

^ In this \sixte thing' reform of life, which was. mentioned in 


283, 1. wol entre .... line 4. schal yive him. 

5. Thus schal man hope that for his werkis of pen- 

itencei line 21. dede, yit 

22. sayn some doctours,^ „ 33. grete synnes out- 

284, 1. ward ...... 20. him. 

284,20. . . . And fortherover, contricioun m'oste ben con- 
tinuel(Z2/, and that a man Aave stedfast purpos to 
scJiryve him, and for to amende him of his lyf)^ 
for sothly, whil contricioun lastith, man may ever 
hope of fdryevenes ^ line 29. hateth. 

368, 6. Thanne schal men . „ 26. Amen. 

Hiis Tale has the following plan : 


(Subject:) penitence. 

What is penitence, and whens it is cleped penitence ? 

Definition after St. Ambrosius. 
„ „ som doctour. 

„ „ the Persone. 

Explanation of the word. 

(Wanting. It perhaps put penitence = contricioun.'*) 

In this penitence or contricioun men schal understonde 
thf e thiiiges : 

a. Whiche ben the causes that oughten moeve a man 
to contricioun ? 
a. A man schal remember him of his synnes. 
/3. Who so doth synne is thral of synne. 
y. Drede of the day of doome and the peynes of 

^. The sorwful remembraunce of the good that he 
hath left to do (on) heer in eorthe, and eek the 
good that he hath lorn. 
e. The remembraunce of the passioun that oure Lord 
J. Chr. suffred for us and for oure synnes. 

the third definition, is repeatedly spoken of ; it has, besides, been 
discussed at large in the " fourthe poynt " (277 f.). 

* The text has * penaunce.' 

^ This reminds us of the second definition. 

^ The interpolation is to be recognized by the uncalled-for ad- 
monition to confess, and the characteristic change from the abstract 
to the concrete way of speaking, which occasions a bad grammati- 
cal mistake ; also by the impertinent separation of the argument 
from the thesis. 

* See note, p. 279. 


i. The hope of f oryevenes of synne, the yifte of gracQ 
wel for to do, and the glorie of heven. 
h In what maner schal be his contricioun 1 
c. Wherof availith contricioun 1 (Fruyt of penitence.) 

My reasons for believing this to be the original Fer- 
soiins Tale are the following : 

1. Every part of it is excellent as to contents and form. 

2. It corresponds perfectly with the Wicliffite character 
of the Parson. 

3. The scheme is plain, yet complete. 

4. The execution of the parts contains nothing that is 
not foreshadowed in the scheme, and only one void (the 
answer to ", Whence it is cleped penitence?"), which is 
easily accounted for. 

5. It completely exhausts the subject — according to 
Wicliffe*s ideas. 

6. Il^otwithstanding this fact, it is short, agreeably to 
the host's wish and admonition. 

7. It alone, of all the parts of the Parson! s Tale, con- 
tains reminiscences of other works of Chaucer ^ and evident 
peculiarities of his. 

In the parts designated as spurious the very reverse is 
the case, as I hope to have shown. I only regret that the 
limited space at my command prevents my pointing out 
more copiously than I have done the difference in language 
and phraseology between the genuine and spurious parts ; 
for the interpolations, with the exception of the Tract on Sin 
(which, from its language, seems to be the oldest) all appear 
to be of later date. I mention only one thing more in this 
respect : In the genuine parts ^ clepen,' so frequently used by 
Chaucer, occurs eight times (p. 264, 1. 9 ; 273, 13, 19; 21 ; 
282, 17, 22, 32 ; 283, 14), in the spurious ones not at all^. 

* There is one exception : the beginning of II. (p. 265, 1. 19 — 
21) strongly resembles 3Ielibe, p. 155, 1. 23—25. 

^ In the Tract on Sin * clepen ' occurs several times, but I think 
that does not weaken my argument ; for I don't deny that Chaucer 
may possibly have translated the Tract, with all its confusions, at 
some earlier period ; I only dispute the possibility of his having 
intended it to form part of the Parson's Tale, 



I venture to think I have made it probaMe that 
Chaucer's ParsorCs Tale has been interpolated on a large 
scale, and that the opinion of Professor TeurBrink 
(Chaucerstudien, 153), " that Chaucer left no works betray- 
ing a diminution of his powers " will now hold good with 
respect to ihB. Parson's Tale also, which it could scarcely 
be said to do, if we suppose the Tale to have been written 
as the MSS. give it. - 

The question is now, when and where was the falsifica-- 
tion perpetrated % - 

Since Wat Tyler's revolt (1381), a change of public 
opinion had taken place with regard to Wicliffe. His 
(enemies charged him with being the intellectual author of 
the movement,-^ and though the people attached little 
credit to this accusation, the great lords had become hesi- 
tating Gtt account of the danger, and would no longer sup- 
port him so decidedly as they had done. The Church 
immediately took advantage of this circumstance to annihi; 
late the heretic.: His doctrine was condemned by the 
synod in 1382, and he was deprived of his professorship. 
The protest of the queen and the London citizens protected 
him against a worse fate, and his death soon after put an 
end to all further persecution. To break up his party was 
now considered easy. The change of government in 1386, 
in consequence of which John of Gaunt lost his influence, 
and Chaucer his lucrative office, may chiefly be attributed 
to political motives, but partly, at least, it was caused by 
the enmity of the hierarchical party against the Wicliffites ; 
for already in the following year parliament demanded 
proceedings against the Lollards, and in 1388, the young 
king, being then under the guidance of the Duke of 
Gloucester, sent an ordinance to the authorities of the town 

^ WalsingJmm; Hist, angl., ed. Riley, III. 32 ; Fasciculi Ziz., 
ed. Shirley, 275 f. 


aind county of JSTottingham, in which he expressed his in- 
tention to defend orthodoxy and to eradicate WicliiFe*s 
errors.^ The authorities of ISTottingham were ordered to 
track and seize the Reformer's writings, to deliver them to 
the Privy Council, and to arrest all persons concerned in 
buying, or selling such writings or in preaching such doc- 
trines,^ The strength of the Wicliffite party, and the 
king's dislike of violent measures,, prevented for some time 
the strict execution of this ordinance, but when, in 1 396, 
the relentless Archbishop Arundel had taken the place of 
the late Courtnay, the persecution of the Lollards again 
became more violent. In the provincial synod in 1397, 
ArundiBl caused 18 of Wicliffe's articles to be again con- 
demned; and when, in 1399, he brought about the revolu- 
tion that cost Eichard his throne and life, he did so not 
only to revenge the injuries he had suffered from the king, 
but also to have a more manageable instrument against the 
Wicliffites. He made the usurper Henry lY. pay for his 
assistance with bloody measures against the Lollards.^ A 
few days after his accession to the throne, Henry declared 
his resolution to destroy heretics and heresies."* 

It is very likely that Chaucer, who in those days was 
getting old and infirm, and, after the loss of his office, had 
to look to the Court for his subsistence^ was induced by 
this antiloUardite current to keep his Wicliffite Sermon on 
Penitence to himself, till death would shield him from the 
bad consequences the publication would have had for him. 
It is very probable, too, that he died in the little house in 
the garden of St Mary's, Westminster, and that the monks 
of that convent were about him in his last hours; and 
nothing is more natural than that they should have been 

* WilklnSy Cone. III. 204 : . . . . " nos zelo fidei catholicae, 
cujns sumus et esse volutnus defensores, moti ..." 

^ Zechle?', I. von W., TI. 55. 

3 Ibid. II. 56 ff. Manke, Englische Geschichte, I. 106 ff. 

* WilJiins, Cone. III. 238 and 254. Convocatio 6 die Oct. 
1399 . . . *^ modus procedendi contra haereticos." 


curious to know whether he had not left a continuation of 
his famous but incomplete Canterbury Tales, and should 
have looked for it among his papers. On the other hand, 
the J, and the clergy in general, were deeply interested that 
a Wicliffite sermon on penitence by Chaucer should not be 
published in its original shape; — and how great a triumph 
must it have been for the Church to be able to prove, by 
producing an orthodox De Penitentia said to be written by 
him, that the great poet, whatever might have been his 
leaning towards the heretic Wicliffe and his doctrine, at 
least died an orthodox Catholic, nay, a zealous defender of 
auricular confession and the penance inflicted by the priests 1 
Are we not justified in believing that the fanaticism which 
erected the stakes in Smithfield and elsewhere, would also 
be capable of stealing and interpolating, in major em Dei 
gloriam, an heretical MS. ? 

We can hardly be mistaken, then, in assuming that the 
Persones Tale was interpolated (there are too many reasons 
for this assumption to believe that it has not been meddled 
with), at St Mary's, Westminster, in the first decennium 
of the fifteenth century, that is to say, at the time of the 
most furious persecution of the Wicliffites. It was probably 
not published till about 1410-20, the date of our earliest 
MSS., when little Lewis, his son, was no doubt dead, and 
there was perhaps no one who cared to inquire for Chaucer's 
handwriting, or had perhaps read the genuine Parson's 
Tale. The interpolator, who was obviously a cleric, would 
thus have had plenty of time to leisurely execute his work 
which, in spite of its want of art, evidently caused him 
immense trouble. 

It is well known that none of the numerous MSS. can 
be proved to ha\ © existed in Chaucer's life-time ; they can, 
therefore, not disprove the hypothesis put forward by me. 
If it is accepted, we are no longer at a loss to explain, 
how it was possible that Lydgate, strange to say, after 
mentioning in \nB Fall of Princes the Tale of Melihe as a 


prose part of the Canterhury Tales, does not say a word 
about the Parson's Tale^ which to him — the monk — ^would 
naturally have appeared so much more important, if he had 
known of it: his translation of Boccaccio's poem was 
written before the publication of the Persones Tale. I am 
well aware that some Chaucerians, Mr Bradshaw for in- 
stance, attribute little value to Lydgate's list ; but there are 
others — I only mention Professor Ten-Brink — who are of a 
different opinion. 


With the orthodox Parson's Tale falls the last and 
principal argument that can be adduced in favour of 
Chaucer's orthodoxy at his death. For the probability of 
his having been a Wicliffite I have given many reasons, but 
not all. I have yet to mention the great number and in- 
fluence of the Wiclifiites, according to the certainly un- 
exceptionable' testimony of WalsingJiam and Knighton^ ; 
further, the estrangement between Chaucer and his once 
intimate friend Gower, which has not as yet been sufficiently 
accounted for, but appears very natural, if we suppose 
Chaucer to have adopted Wicliffe's doctrines. For Gower, 
though a zealous advocate for the reformation of the clergy, 
was no friend to Wicliffe's tenets ; we may see this in the 
second book of his Vox Clamantis, and in the Prologue to 
his Confessio Amantis, where he speaks contemptuously of 
"this new secte of Lollardie^." Finally, there is the 
beautiful poem "Fie fro the pres, and duelle with soth- 
fastnesse," with the burden " And trouthe the schal de- 

* Walsingham, Hist, angl., 11. 188 (ed. Eiley), " 1389: . . . 
Lollardi — in errorem suum plurimos seduxerunt." 

Knighton, V. col. 2644 : " Mediam partem populi, aut majorem 
partem, sectae suae adquisiverunt." Ibid., col. 2666 : " Secta ilia 
in maximo honore illis diebus habebatur, et in tantum multiplicata 
f uit, quod vix duos videres in via, quin alter eomm discipulus Wic- 
lifife fuerit." 

^ Pauli's Introd. Essay to bis edition of Gower'a works. He 
also touches the altered relation between the two poets, but says 
that it was the consequence of political differences. 


lyver, hit ys no drede." This poem, apparently containing 
the gist of Chaucer's philosophy, agrees perfectly with 
Wicliffe's way of thinking, and does not show a trace of 
orthodox Catholicism. That Henry IV., the persecutor of 
the Lollards, let fall a ray of his favour on the poet who 
was then on the hrink of the grave, does not contradict my 
assumption ; for Henry was the son of the Duchess Blanche, 
whose death-soii^g Chaucer sang; he was, too, the son of 
Chaucer's protector, John of Gaunt ; and, besides, it is not 
necessary to suppose that the poet openly displayed his 
religious persuasion. 

I'm perfectly aware that my solution of the problem : 
What was Chaucer^s relation to the Church ? is neither ex- 
haustive nor undoubtedly correct. I did not intend it to be 
so ; for in the present state of our knowledge of Chaucer, a 
thorough investigation of the question is not yet possible, 
since a great many other questions must first be answered, 
before we can be positively sure on this point. But so long 
as they are not answered in a sense contrary to my expecta- 
tion, I think I may, without presumption, maintain, that 
in his heart at least 

Chaucer was a WicUffite, 

My best thanks are due to Mr Furnivall and Professor 
Ten-Brink, who, though their opinions on the subject 
differ from mine in many points, have kindly encouraged 
and assisted me. in my investigation. Mr Furnivall has 
had the kindness, besides, to revise and correct the Eng- 
lish version of this Essay for me. — S. 









I HAVE read thro' John of Salisbury's Polycraticus 
three times with Chaucer, and the following is all I have 
noted. I do not know what is the evidence connecting 
Chaucer's work with the Polycraticus, but there seems 
nothing particular in what I have found. 

The Frere's Tale, lines 212-13 : 

" As to the Phitonesse did Samuel : 212 

And yet wol som men say it was not he." 

John of Salisbury, 468 C, D : Et quidem provide & 
fideliter non dicit Scriptura Samuelem Pythonis imperio 
suscitatum, sed csecitatem impii sensus prudenter expressit. 
Ait enini ; audita forma viri & habitu, ' intellexit Saul quod 
Samuel esset.' Deceptus utique intellexit ; quod & ex eo 
probatur quod subjungit : " Et inclinavit se, & adoravit." Si 
enim fuisset Samuel, nequaquam se permisisset ab homine 
adorari, qui secundum legem crediderat, & docuerat unum 
Deum & Dominum adorandum. Praeterea sanctse animae 
a potestate malignorum spirituum exemptse sunt. 

[Englisht : And yet wisely and faithfully the Scripture 
does not say that Samuel was raised at the command of the 
Pythoness, but prudently expresses the blindness of the 
Godless sense. It says when he heard of the appearance 
and dress of the man, Saul understood that it was Samuel. 
That he believed so erroneously is proved by what follows, 
" and he bowed himself and worshipped." If it had been 
Samuel he would not have allowed himself to be worshipped 
by man ; since in obedience to the law, he had believed 
and taught that the one God and Lord alone is to be 
worshipped. Besides, holy spirits are exempted from the 
power of evil spirits.] 

As the same view is taught by TertuUian (de Anim. 57), 
Justin Martyr {cid Gentes, 52), Augustine {Qumst, Siyn^Mc, 


1. 2, and two other places), Basil (/6*. § 8, p. 543), Hieron 
{on Mcdt 6), Isidore (1. 8), Origen, Rupert, and of course 
all who have copied from them, the borrowing from John 
of Salisbury is not proven. 

Pardon eres Tale, line 76 : 
" These cokes how they stamp, and strein, and grind." 

Polycraiicus, 725, C : Multiplicantur fercula, cibi alii 
aliis farciuntur, condiuntur hsec illis, & in injuriam naturae, 
innatum relinquere, & alienum coguntur afferre saporeni 
. . . Coquorun sollicitudo fervet arte niultiplici, eliciuntur 
jura ; quid quo die geri oporteat, Sz quotidianis ministrari 
conviviis domesticus dictator nocti dieque deliberat. Un- 
decunque conquerit irritanienta guise, & unde palati vires 
excitet hebetati, nihil arbitrans expedituni, nisi cum in- 
temperantise fuerit satisf actum. 

\E)igllslit : Dishes are midtiplied, meats are stuffed and' 
flavoured with others, and to the injury of nature are com- 
pelled to give up their natural flavour and to bear a foreign 
one. The cook's anxiety is burning with various arts ; 
juices are squeezed out. Day and night the household 
dictator deliberates what on each day is to be served up 
to the banquet, guests. From every quarter he collects 
materials to tickle the throat, and excite the powers of the 
jaded palate, thinking nothing accomplished until he shall 
have satiated even excess itself.] 

Pardoneres Tale, 1. 141-2; Group C, § 4, 1. 603-4: 

" Stilbon that was a wise embassadour 
Was sent to Corinth with ful gret honoui-." 

John of Salislmiij, 400 B : Chilon the Lacedemonian 
sent to Corinth ; same account given, followed by Demetrius 
receiving golden dice from Partliians. 

Chaucer says Stilbon ; John of Salisbury, Chilon, 
who was one of the seven wise men. I cannot find the 
name Stilbon in any book that I can consult. The story 
about Chilon was perhaps very often copied. The only 
connection with John of Salisbury is the juxtaposition of 
the two stories, and even this may be accidental. 


Nuns Preestes Tale, line 414; Group B, § 14, 1. 4424 : 

" But what that God forewrote, must nedes be," &c. 

John of Salts,, 444, chap. 20 and 21, on this subject, 
and of course numbers of other authors. 

These are all the passages which I have been able to 
find, except those in The Wife of Bathes Prologue, When 
comparing this with John of Salisbury, T could not fail to 
notice that all the correspondences were with that part of 
John of Salisbury which he states to be a quotation from 
Theophrastus, de Nuptiis, as copied and translated by 
Jerome against Jovinian, bk. I. As in the same Prologue 
Chaucer writes ; Group D, § 1,1. 669 — 676 : 

" Hie had a book that gladly night and day 
For her disport he would it rede alway 
He cleped it Valerie and Theoplirast 
And with that book he lough alwaj^ ful fast 
And eke there was a clerk sometime at home 
A Cardinal that highte Seint Jerome 
That made a book against Jovinian 
In which book was ther eek Tertuliian." 

I turned to Jerome's book, and the evidence accumulated 
upon me, that €haucer in this prologue had used ex- 
tensively St Jerome's book, and not merely the extract 
given by John of Salisbury. How wicked old Chaucer 
must have looked while constructing such a prologue from 
materials taken out of Jerome's very strong, not to say 
violent, treatise in favour of perpetual virginity and almost 
against marriage among Christians. And how vehemently, 
and justly, Jerome would have raged, if he could have seen 
the materials built in among his bricks. 

But I think that the extracts I have here given- will 
show that in some parts, the Prologue is a Cento from 
Jerome, done into English verse. I could have quoted 
more texts of Scripture from Jerome, but I have only 
mentioned those where the context shows pretty plainly 
that Chaucer copied them from Jerome and not from 


I would refer my reader to Chaucer, instead of printing 
his verses, as thus I think the borrowing will be more 



Canterhury Tales, Group i?, § 1. 

l. 10 — 13. He who but once went to a wedding teaches 
us that we must marry but once.^ 

1. 14 — 22. And the . Samaritan woman in John's 
Gospel, whp said that she had a sixth husband, was 
corrected by the Lord, who said that he was not her 
husband. For where there has been a number of partners, 
there ceases to be a husband, who is properly only one. At 
the beginning, one rib only was made into one wife. And 
they two shall be one flesh, said God, not three or four, 
since they cannot be two, if there are more than two.^ 

1. 23-6. In the case where one is exceeded, it makes 
no difference whether there be two or three, since it has 
ceased to be one. * All things are lawful, but all things are 
not expedient.' I do not pronounce damnation on the 
digamist, nor even the trigamist, nor, if the word can be 
used, on the octogamist. I will say even more, I receive 
the fornicator when he is penitent. What is equally law- 
ful ought to be weighed with an even balance.^ 

* Hieron., vol. ii., adtsersus Joviniamim, lib. i. 

Qui enim semel venit ad nuptias, semel docuit esse nuben- 
dutn. — p. 305. 

^ Siquidem et ilia in Evangelic Joannis Samaritana, sextum se 
maritum habere dicens, arguitur a Domino, quod non sit vir ejus. 
Ubi enim numerus maritorum est, ibi vir, qui proprie unus est, esse 
desiit. Una costa a principio in unam uxorem versa est. Erunt 
inquit duo in came una: Non tres, neque quatuor, alioquin jam 
non duo, si plures. — p. 263. (Tertull. Monog, 8.) 

^ Ubi enim unus exceditur, nihil refert secundus an tertius sit, 
quia desinit esse monogamus. Omnia licent, sed omnia non ex- 
pediunt. Non damno digamos, immo nee trigamos, et si dici po- 
test octogamos : plus aliquid inferam, etiam scortatorem recipio 
poenitentem. Quidquid ajqualiter licet, sequali lance pensandum 
est. — p. 265. 


1. 54. Eirst Lamech^ a man of blood and a nxanslayer, 
divided one flesh into* two wives. The one punishment of 
the deluge carried away the sin of fratricide and digamy. 
The one should be avenged seven fold, the other seventy 
times seven. As much as one number exceeds the other, 
so does also the guilt. ^ 

L 59 — 70. See (Jovinian says) the Apostle declares 
that he had no commandment from^ the Lord concerning 
virgins, and he who gave orders with authority respecting 
husbands and wives dared not command what the Lord 
did not teach as a duty : and rightly so. What is taught 
as a duty is commanded ; and what is commanded must 
be done ; and what must be done involves a penalty if it 
be not done. For there is no use in ordering that which 
at the same time is left to the free choice of the person 
who receives the order. If the Lord had commanded 
virginity, he would have seemed to condemn marriage, 
and taken away the seed bed of mankind, from which 
virginity itself springs. If he had previously cut away 
the root, how could he seek for fruit P 

" And certen, if there were no seed ysowe.'' 

1. 71 — 76. In reply to this argument, Jerome says, 
* that there will always be plenty of persons who will not 
persevere, to keep up the numbers of the human r^ce.' 

The Institutor of the race proposes the prize, he in- 
vites men to run, he holds in his hand the reward of 

* Primus Lamech sanguinarius et homicida, unam carnem in 
duas dlvisit uxores : fratricidium et digamiam, eadem cataclysmi 
poena delevit, De altero septies, de altero septuagies septies vindi- 
candum est. Quantum distant in numero, tantum et in crimine. — 
p. 263. 

2 Ecce, inquit, Apostolus profitetur de virginibus, Domini se 
non habere praeceptum; et qui cum auctoritate de maritis et 
uxoribus jusserat, non audet imperare quod Dominus non prsecepit. 
Et recte quod enim prsecipitur, imperatur : quod imperatur, necesse 
est fieri : quod necesse est fieri, nisi fiat, poenara habet. Frustra 
e»^im jubetur, quod in arbitrio ejus ponitur cui jussum est. Si 
virginitatem Dominus imperasset, videbatur nuptias condemnare, 
et hominum auferre seminarium, unde et ipsa virginitas nascitur. 
Si praecidisset radicem, quomodo fruges qucereret. — p. 255. 


Tirginity. ... He does not say, You shall drink, whether you 
like it or not ; you shall run, whether you will or not : but, 
Whosoever will, whosoever can run and drink, he shall 
conquer, he shall be satisfied. ^ 

1. 77 — 81. Do you wish to know what the Apostle 
desired 1 consider what follows : ' I would that all men 
were even as I am. This is my wish, this is my earnest 
desire, that ye should be followers of me, even as I also 
am of Christ.* He was a virgin, born of a Virgin. Pure 
man from a pure maid. . . . Whosoever believeth in Christ 
ought himself to walk even as He walked,^ 

1. 82 — 86. This he said of indulgence, not of command: 
And yet we have been always saying to ourselves that 
marriage is not an indulgence but a commandment, as if 
in this way second and third marriages were not quite as 
much permitted.^ 

1. 87 — 89. He did not say, it is good not to have a 
wife ; but, it is good not to touch a woman, as it' there were 
danger in the very touch. As if he who touched her may 
not escape [that lust] which carries away men's precious 
souls, which causes young men's hearts to go astray (?). 
AYill any one bind fire in his bosom and not be burnt, &c. 1* 

1. 90 — 114. We do not make marriage of little account, 
as the followers of Marcion and the Manichaeans ; nor, 

' Proponit ayiavoOiTtjg praemium, invitat ad cursum. tenet in 
manu virginitatis braviura : . . . Non dicit velitis, nolitis biben- 
dum vobis est, atque currendum : sed qui voluerit, qui potuerit, 
currere atque potare, ille vincet, ille satiabitur. — p. 257. 

^ Vis scire quod velit Apostolus ? Junge quod sequitur. Volo 

autem omnes homines esse sicut me ipsum Hoc enim volo, 

hoc desidero ut imitatores mei sitis, sicut et ego Christi. Ille virgo 
de virgine, de incorrupta incorruptus .... in Christo credit, debet 
sicut ille ambulavit et ipse ambulare. — p. 249. 

^ Hoc autem, inquit, dico juxta indulgentiam non juxta imperi- 
um. Et mussitamus adhuc nuptias non vocare indulgentiam sed 
praeceptum, quasi non eodem modo et secunda et tertia matrimonia 
concedantur. — p. 249. 

^ Non dixit, bonum est uxorem non habere, sed bonum est 
mulierem non tangere ". quasi et in tactu periculura sit : quasi qui 
illam tetigerit non evadat, quas virorum preciosas animas rapit, 
quas facit adolescentium evolare corda ; alligabit quis in sinu 
ignem, &c. — p. 246. 


joining in the error of Tatian, the leader of the Encratites, 
do we think all sexual intercourse disgraceful. We know 
that in a great house not only are there vessels of gold and 
silver, bub also of wood and earthenware.^ 

He who believes in Christ ought himself to walk even 
as He walked. But every man hath his proper gift of 
God. One after this manner, and another after that. 
What I desire, he says, is plain, but since in the Church 
there are differences of gifts, I concede marriage also — lest 
he should seem to condemn nature. Eem ember too that 
the gift of virginity is one and the gift of marriage is 

1. 115 — 128. And why, you will ask, were ' Genitalia^ 
created ] . . . I could say . . . they were formed by God to 
carry off the liquids and the drink, by which the veins of 
the body are watered . . . and to declare the difference of 
sex. . . . Must we continue in lust in order to avoid possess- 
ing these parts uselessly 1 ^ 

1. 129 — 168. What hast thou brought me from the 
forum 1 * 

' Neque vero nos Marcionis et Manichaei dogmata sectantes, 
nuptias detrahimus : nee Tatiani principis Encratitorum errore 
decepti omnem coitum spurcum putamus . . . scimus in domo 
magna non solum vasa esse aurea et argentea, sed et lignea et 
fictilia.— p. 239, 

^ Qui enim in Christo credit, debet sicut ille ambulavit et ipse 
ambulare. Sed unusqulsque proprium donum habet ex Deo, alius 
quidem, sic, alius autem sic. Quid, inquit, velim perspicuum est. 
Sed quoniam in Ecclesia diversa sunt dona, concedo et nuptias, ne 
videar damnare naturam. Simulque considera, quod aliud donum 
virginitatis sit, aliud nuptiarum. — p. 249. 

^ Et cur, inquies, creata sunt genitalia? . . . Poteram quidem 
dicere , . . ita et hic qui sub ventre est, ad digerendos humores et 

potus, quibus venae corporis irrigantur, a Deo conditus est 

sexus differentiam prasdicant. . . . Numque ergo cessemus a libi^ 
dine, ne frustra hujusmodi membrad portemus 2 — p. 294. 

* (Here begins the extract from Theophrastus). Deinde per 
noctes totas garrulae conquestiones. Ilia ornatior procedit in pub- 
licum : haec honoratur ab omnibus, ego in conventu foeminarum 
misella despicior. Cur aspicias vicinam ? quid cum ancillula 
loquebaris ? De foro veniens quid attulisti ? Non amicum habere 
possumus, non sodalem ? . . . Pauperem alere difficile est, divitem 
ferre tormentum. 


1. 235—273. 

"Why is my neighebores wyf sogay," &c. 

Then all night through there are prolonged complaints and 
inquiries. ' She goes out more handsomely dressed than 
I do. So and So is honoured by every one, while I, poor 
wretch, am treated with contempt at the women*s parties. 
Why did you look at our female neighbour 1 What were 
you saying to that girl? What did you bring me from 
the forum ? I cannot have a gentleman friend or intimate 
acquaintance. ... To maintain a poor wife is a difficulty; 
to endure a rich one, a torment. 

A fair woman is quickly sought by lovers ; a foul one 
is easily inflamed with desire. It is difficult to guard 
what many men love ; it is a hard thing to possess what 
no one else thinks worth having . . . the foul wife. It 
causes less sorrow to keep the foul wife than to guard the 
fair one, for nothing is safe which every one is longing 
for. One entices her by his personal appearance, another 
by his talents, a third by his wit, a fourth by his liberality. 
And in some way, or at some time, that will be captured 
which is attacked on every side.^ 

1. 274. 

" And jjat no wys man / nedeth for to wedde." 

A wise man ought not to wed.^ 

1. 282 — 315. Add to this that there is no choice of a 
wife, but she must be kept whatever she may turn out. If 
she be passionate, if foolish, if unshapely, if proud, if foul, 
whatever defects there may be in her, we only come to 
know them after marriage. 1. 285, &c. A horse, an ass, an 

* Pulchra cito adamatur, foeda facile concupiscit, difficile custo- 
ditur quod plures amant. Molestum est possidere quod nemo 
habere dignetur. Minore tamen miseria deformis habetur, quam 
formosa servatur. Nihil tutum est, in quod totius populi vota 
suspiriant. Alius forma, alius ingenio, alius facetiis, alius liberali- 
tate solicitat : aliquo modo, vel aliquando expugnatur, quod unde- 
que incessitur. — p. 314. 

* Non est ergo uxor ducenda sapient!. — p. 313. 


OX, a dog, and the commonest property, clothes also, 
basins, wooden stools, cups, and earthen jugs, are tried 
first, and then bought. A wife alone is not offered to 
view, lest she should displease before she be married. 
1. 293, &c. Her face is always to be .watched, and her 
beauty to be praised, lest if you look at another, she may 
think herself to be nnpleasing. 1. 296. She must be called 
Lady (or Mistress).; Her birthday must be kept. You 
must swear by her health. You must wish her long life. 
1. 299. Yon must honour her nurse, the servant that 
carried her; (1. 301) her father's servants, and domestics, 
her handsome lackey, and (1. 304) curled steward, and 
eunuch ... (1. 306) in which officers adulterers are con- 
cealed. All the men she loves must be loved, however 
unwillingly. If you entrust her with the rule of the 
whole house, you must yourself obey. If you keep any- 
thing under your own control, she will not think that you 
have confidence in her, but she will be turned to hatred 
and strife, and if you do not quickly. look to it, will pre- 
pare poison. 1 
1. 362. 

" Thou seydest eek / that ther been thynges thre/' &c. 

The horseleech hath three well-beloved daughters, 

' Adda quod nulla est uxoris electio, sed qualiscunque obve- 
nerit habenda. Si iracunda, si fatua, si deformis, si superba, si 
foetida, quodcumque vitii est, post nuptias discimus. Equus, asinus, 
bos, canis, et vilissima mancipia, vestes quoque, et lebetes, sedile 
ligneum, calix, et urceolus fictilis probantur prius, et sic emuntur : 
sola uxor non ostenditur ne ante displiceat quam ducatur. Atten- 
danda semper ejus est f acies. et pulchritudo laudanda, ne si alteram 
aspexeris se existimat displicere, vocanda Domina, celebrandus 
natalis ejus : jurandum per salutem ejus, ut sit superstes optan- 
dum : honoranda nutrix ejus et gerula, servus patrinus et alumnus, 
et formosus assecla, et procurator calamistratus, et in longum 
securumque libidinem exsectus spado ; sub quibus nominibus 
adulteri delitescunt. Quoscumque ilia dilexerit ingratis amandi. Si 
totam domum regendam ei commiseris, serviendum est. Si aliquid 
tuo arbitrio reservaveris, fidem sibi haberi non putabit : sed in 
odium vertitur et jurgia, et si non cito consuleris parabit venena. — • 
p. 314. (Thepph. ends.) 


but they do not satisfy her, and to the fourth it will not 
do to say, It is enough. 1. 371. Hell and the love of a 
woman, and earth that is not satisfied with water^ and fire 
says not It is enough. This is not said of an harlot, or of 
an adulteress, but woman's love generally is found fault 
with. It is ever insatiable ; when extinguished it is again 
kindled, and after abundance again is in want. And 
again in another place, *As a worm in a tree, so does 
a wicked wife disgrace her husband . . . , how seldom a 
wife can be found free from these vices, he knows who is 

The story about Socrates, 1. 728; Pasiphae, 1. 733; 
Glitemnestra, 1. 737 ; Eriphile, 1. 743. 

1. 780-1. A wife thinks herself mistress when she does 
something against her husband's will, that is to say, what 
she herself pleases, not what he commands. ^ 

1. 782-3. Herodotus writes (1.8) that a woman puts off 
her modesty with her garments.^ 

As Chaucer mentions, Grroup D, § 1, 1. 676-8 : 

" and eke Tertullian 
Crisippus, Tortula, and Helowis 
That was abbesse not fer fro Paris," , 

I turned to Tertullian, Ad uxor em, De exIiortaUone Gasti- 
tatis, de Monogamia, and de Pudicia, I have not found 

* Sanguisugse tres erant filiiB dilectione dilectas, sed istae non 
earn saturaverunt, et quartae non sufficit dicere, satis est. Infernus 
et amor muliebris et terra quas non satiatur aqua, et ignis non 
dicit satis est (Prov. xxx. 16). Non hie de meretrice, non de 
adultera dicitur, sed amoi- muliebris generaliter accusatur, qui 
semper insatiabilis est, qui extinctus accenditur et post copiam 
rursum inops est. 

Et rursum in alio loco : Sicut in ligno veitnis, ita pudet virum 
suum uxor malifica . . . . Quam rarum sit uxorem sine his vitiis 
invenire novit llle qui duxit uxorem. — p. 282. 

^ Uxor ; quas in eo se existimat dominam, si adversum viri 
faciat voluntatem, id est quod placet, non quod jubetur.— p. 314, 
from Theophrastus. 

^ Scribit Herodotus, quod mulier cum veste deponit verecun- 
diam. — p. 317. 


much, to mention-; several points of liis views have been 
repeated by Jerome. 

With respect to the wife of Bath's statement, 
L 28, " God bad vs for to wexe and multiplye," 

Tertullian says : " If even now there is room for that 
command ^Grow and multiply/ that is, if no other 
command has yet supervened. The time is already wound 
up ; it remains that both " they who have wives act as if 
they had not." For, of course, by enjoining continence 
and restraining concubitance, the seminary of our race has 
abolished that ^Grow and multiply * (jEJo; Cast), . . The 
fashion of this world is passing away, this world no longer, 
to wit, requiring the command, * Grow and multiply * (de 

Lamech, 1. 54, p. 299 above. But when the first crime 
is found, — ^homicide, inaugurated in fratricide — no crime is 
so worthy of the second place as a double marriage. For it 
makes no difference whether a man have had two wives 
singly, or whether individuals taken at the same time have 
made two Other iniquities provoked the deluge, ini- 
quities once for all avenged, whatever was their nature, not 
however seventy-seven times, which is the vengeance which 
double marriages have deserved {de Monog,). Clark's 

1. 59 — 70, p. 299 above. There is no place at all 
where we read that nuptials are prohibited. Ad Uxor em. 

I have looked through the Epistles of Abelard and 
Heloisa (French transl. : Paris, Didier, 1856). There are 
two places I have noted. Heloisa, 2nd Epistle, speak- 
ing of the evils women have caused men, mentions 
Adam, Sampson, Solomon, Job, taken, most probably, 
from Abelard's 'Complaint' on Sampson. And Abelard 
in his Letter to a friend repeats Heloisa's objections to 


^ their marriage. Curiously enough, they are avowedly taken 

, , from Hieron. adv. Jovin. 

Abelard's letter to Heloisa on the privileges and glories 
of women from Eve (who was created in Paradise, while 
Adam was created outside and brought in) downward, was 
most probably not in Jankin's volume. 


lis WiQxU mxis WimU. 


XL On ''Here" and ^' There" in Chaucer. By R. F. 
Weymouth, Esq., D. Lit. 

XIL Dr John Koch on 1, An original version of the " KnighVs 
Tale," 2. The date and personages of the '' Parlament of 
Fadesy 3. ** Quene Anelida, and the False Arcytey 4. a, 
LoUius. J. Chaucer, and Boccaccio's Decamsrone, 

Apjpendix, Prof. Scherk's Date of the Canterbury Journey, 
englisht from Herr Hertzberg's " Canterhury-GescMcJiten," 
1866 ; with a note, showing why it's, wrong, by Mr Skeat. 

Palamon and Frsyte, 2i> fragment from the Dublin University MS, 
D. 4. 18, No. 7. 


]^. TEtJBlS^EE & CO., 57 & 59, LUDGATE HILL, 


Sjetoitb Sttm^ 1 8, 








For an outline of the argument^ see the recapitulation on 
the last tioo pages of the paper. 





The double vowel indicates the 

i, as in pin, river 

same sound as the single 

, but 

oi, as in \}oy, n<?ise 


0, as in <?mit, h<?tel 

aa, as in Mher 

00, as in note, home 

ai, as in Italian 

dh, as in they, then 

A, as in wall, Taw 

H, the common aspirate 

«, as in mention, tea 

J, the semivowel y, as in yet, 

se, as in hat, pan 


e, as in m^t, pen 

zh, as in pleasure, a^Jure 

ee, as in there, dare 

J, as in father, murmur 

ei, as in Italian 

A dot in the middle or at the 

ee, as in they, day, weigh, 1 


end of a word indicates that 

9, as in hut, rwn 

the accent rests on the syl- 

ei, as in mine, drive 

lable immediately preceding, 

9u, as in ho^/se, town 

as (Hotel*), (HeidrAl'iks), 

ii, as in see, sea, machine 


I WISH in the following pages to reconstruct and some- 
what expand a part of the argument which I presented to 
the Philological Society in a paper read in June 1870, and 
subsequently enlarged into a thin octavo published in- 
dependently of the Society. 1 

The first point to be established is that it is a grave 
mistake to suppose all words written with -ere in Chaucer 
to have sounded that termination alike. Such words are 
in fact divisible into two classes. The rhymes of Chaucer 
and aU our other early poets leave no doubt as to tliis ; 

' In the frequent instances where this book is referred to in the 
course of the present paper, it is cited briefly as JS. M P, The full 
title is " On Early English Pronunciation, with especial reference 
to Chaucer, in opposition to the views maintained by Mr A. J. 
Ellis, F.R.S., in his work *0n Early English Pronunciation, with 
especial reference to Shakspere and Chaucer.' By Richard Francis 
Weymouth, D. Lit., &c. London : Asher and Co., Bedford Street, 
Covent Garden, 1874." 


but I propose to giYe the facts in detail, and somewhat 
more fully than is already done in my book. There I 
gave the results obtained from 659 rhymes in the Canter- 
bury Tales : here I giYe those obtained from the whole of 
Chaucer, having used the Six-Text edition, supplemented 
by Bell's Chaucer. I confine my attention in this paper 
to the termination -ere, because the evidence is more 
abundant than for -efe, -ede, -erne, -ehe^ &c., though words 
with these endings also clearly divide themselves into two 
classes, as I have shown in my book, §§ 95 — 99. 

Having now gone through the whole of Chaucer's 
Poems, I find a total of 1246 rhymes of words ending in 
-ere or -er or -eere or -eer, (The final e, I may say once for 
all, I have not taken into account. I have had quite 
work enough on hand without it.^) These 1246 rhymes 
are formed by words which we shall find falling into two 
classes, these classes with but few exceptions rhyming 
only among themselves. 

In the first class the following are the words that recur 
most frequently, and therefore afford the most abundant 
evidence. With each one I give the number of times 
it occurs rhyming, and the number of exceptional cases 
in which it rhymes with the other class. Here adv. 
(179—52), here Yh. (196—8), d&re adj. (251—3), ^eersubst. 
(8 — 0), manere, matere, and other nouns ^ from French 
feminines now spelt with 4ere (492 — 12), lacheler, hoJceler, 
and other nouns^ from French masculines in -ier (243 — 6), 

* In like manner my reckoning has included words having the 
same verbal ending, as creiJetJi, slepetli, or the same plural form, as 
eeres, Jieeres. 

^ That is to say, there are in all 179 of Chaucer's rhjines in 
which the adverb here rhymes with some other word : in 174 of 
these it rhymes with some other word of what I have provisionally 
called the first class, while in only 5 does it rhyme with a word of 
the .other class. 

.^. Banere, chambrere, ryvere, &c. 

^ Archer, bracer, botiller, &c. A complete list of these French 
words in -ere and -er is given below. See also Table of Ehymes. 
They should all according to mj view be pronounced like career, 
engineer &c., in modern English. 


neer (37 — 6), fere = companion and ifere (72 — ^4), ajJpeere 
(21 — 0), peer and compeer (21 — 0),frere (39 — 1), sjDere =. 
sphere and emispere (13 — 0), lere = learn (47—2), &c. 

The second class consists of there (125 — 17), were from 
be (143 — 33), bear vb. and /6»r&ear (22 — 0)^ here = hev 
(17 — 0), sjjere = hasta (18 — 0), swe7'-e vb. (14 — 0),fere = 
timor (60 — 6), ^re subst. = ear (42—4), loJiere (41 — 4), &c. 

The total number of apparent exceptions is about 89 
out of the 1246. It is not possible to affirm this number 
as absolutely exact, for when a word occurs but once, as 
Omere, Richere, there seems to be no means of deciding 
how Chaucer sounded it, otherwise than by the particular 
rhyme in which it occurs. But for no fewer than 19 of 
these 89 doubtful rhymes the one word yere'^ is responsible, 
and this coincides . with the result of observation of the 
rhymes in other writers, suggesting that this particular 
word was sounded at pleasure in either of two ways, just 
as Lyndesay in the northern dialect uses sometimes wwre 
rhyming with glore^ score, off ore, Diodore, and sometimes 
the peculiarly northern form mair or mare rhyming with 
the adj. /a^V, repair, declair, hair, sair, cair, &c. ; and just 
as also a modern poet will say (wmd) or (weind), (agen) or 
(ageen) as best suits the exigencies of the moment. 

I will not however claim for my argument the benefit 
of this doubt. Let us assume the number of exceptions 
to be 89, this is only 7*1 per cent on the whole. IsTow 
what is the practice of our modern poets as to faulty 
rhymes ? In Moore's Lalla Eookh, Part I., The Yeiled 
Prophet of Khorassan, there are about 988 rhymes, of 
which 69 are defective (word, ador'd; wreath, breath; 
own, down; love, rove; &e.), being close upon 7 per cent. 
In Cowper's Table Talk, of 387 rhymes 34 are faulty; 8*8 
per cent. In Byron's Giaour, 58 out of about 651 ; 8*9 
per cent. In Keats's Endymion, Book I., 48 out of about 
480 ; 10 per cent. In 50 pages of The Man born to be 
^ See my E. E. P., p. G7. 


King, in Morris's Eartlily Paradise, 79 out of 725 rhymes 
are bad (among whicli are specially notable loear rhyming 
with fear, and fair with year), ratio 10*9 per cent. In 
Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel, to the end of Canto IL, 
14:9 out of about 464 are faulty; 14-9 per cent. And 
then it must be borne in mind that many of Chaucer's 
poems are in metres in which three, four, or even more 
words are made to rhyme, and in these more numerous 
exceptions occur, about 10 or 11 per cent (allowing for 
which we should of course have a lower per centage than 
7*1 in the simpler metres). Il^ow how is it with the 
moderns ? In 74 stanzas of Childe Harold, each yielding 
10 rhymes, 85 are defective; 11-2 per cent. In Southey's 
Tale of Paraguay, Canto I., of 460 rhymes 67 are bad; 
14*5 per* cent. In Shelley's Eevolt of Islam, Dedication 
and Canto I., of 740 rhymes 153 are bad {pierce, immerse ; 
lend, fiend ; and several which are precisely similar to the 
few cases in Chaucer where a here word rhymes with a 
word like tliei^e, as hemi sphere, rare; years, wears ; tears 
subst., ivears ; hears, cares; fears, cares; atmosphere, 
wear; &c.); 20*7 per cent. The conclusion is obvious 
that an aggregate of 7*1 per cent of faulty rhymes in -ere 
in all Chaucer is altogether insufficient to disturb the con- 
clusion to which the overwhelming majority of the rhymes 
point. And a closer scrutiny will greatly reduce the 89 
exceptions, as we shall see presently. 

Let us now glance briefly at some of the other early 
poets. We shall find they all lead to the same general 
conclusion, and therefore also I have not been at the pains 
to distinguish the spurious from the genuine among the 
poems that bear Chaucer's name. In Eobert of Gloucester 
these -ere words divide themselves into two well marked 
classes, with only four (or perhaps ^y&) exceptions through- 
out the whole Chronicle, three of which are furnished by 
the yere to which I have already called attention. In 
several minor poems which I have examined (the Moral 


Ode, Land of Cockayne, Life of St Danstan, St SwitMn, 
the Oxford Student, &g.), yere rhymes three times with 
the first class, ten times with the second; omitting this 
word, we find the two classes distinct without a single ex- 
ception. Eut two or three words are here in the second 
class which in Chaucer are in the first — chere, here = bier, 
lere and mishre, showing differences of pronunciation in 
the mouths of different speakers in those times, just as 
some people now say (nii'dhi) and (lii'zhi), while others 
say (noi'dhi) and (lezh'i). In Eobert of Brunne's Chronicle 
the classes are distinct with only five exceptions, of which 
yere furnishes none, rhyming everywhere with Class L 
In the same poet's Handlyng Synne there are in all 244 of 
these rhymes, including 13 exceptions : they are that Iiere 
adv. once rhymes with dehonair, manere once with swere 
vb., oherer once with here vb., here vb. twice with tollere 
{which as an Anglo-Saxon derivative should come in the 
second class, like haJchyter, ledere, sliappere, in the same 
poem, and as always in Chaucer) ; spere == sphere once 
with eyre = heir, dere adj. once with fyre, here adv. and 
scere = ploughshare each once with fyre, were from he 
once with hare = tulit, and there once each with share = 
sheared, Lazare, and ar = are. I do not include the 
apparent exceptions that arise from the contraction of 
jprayere in seven places into one syllable as in the modern 
'prayer, nor the cases in which ihore and whore are sub- 
stituted for the commoner there and where. 

It may be observed in passing that as to this change 
which I suppose to have taken place of jprayere (pree-iir*) 
into (pree'j) and then (preej), and the similar change of 
(skwei-iir*), (maniir*), (matiir*), (mariniir*), (batsheliir*), 
(popeliir*), (koliir*), &c. — all of them formerly, I believe, 
sounded with the last syllable as in cashier, arrear, gazet- 
teer, &c. — into the now familiar sounds which we write as 
squire, manner, matter, majiner, hachelor, ]}oplar, collar, 
&c., the accented (iir*) becoming now a simple (j), the 


reader will hardly need to be reminded of the universal 
tendency of our language to throw back the accent to the 
beginning of the word ; and this change of accent having 
taken place, the degradation of the vowel from the full 
clear (ii) into the indistinct and slipshod (b), as in the 
modern manner, or its total disappearance after another 
vowel, and the consequent running of two syllables into 
one, as in prayer and squire, follows as a matter of course. 

If now we examine the same classes of words in the 
ISTorthern Dialect, we find still the same distinction of 
words, though the spelling differs. Going through the 
whole of Lyndesay's poems, we find in all 396 of these 
rhymes, of which only 15 are exceptional. These are 
familiair — which indeed in Chaucer is not an (e) but an 
(i) word — rhyming once with bar and once with Mar^ 
repair once wdth Bynear = Shinar, presoneir with Dunhar, 
peir = peer once each with lair = lore and fair = go, 
cireuleir — which according to analogy should be circulaiT 
or circular e — once each with liemispeir and weir = doubt, 
Quateir once each with declair and fair = go, heir == bear 
vb. once with cair, and the verbs inquyre or requyre (also 
spelt with -eir) rhyming once with heir vb., heir adv., freir, 
and yeir ; but on these compounds of -quire see below, p. 
11, where it will be shown that these four are probably 
not exceptions. But here again I have not included the 
10 instances in which, mair appears in the southern form 
more, and rhymes accordingly. . ^ 

Now in all the poems which I have systematically 
searched through, as well as all that I have more cursorily 
examined, I find the two classes consist almost entirely of 
the same sets of words, the ]^orthern Dialect partially 
excepted. Thus in the one class we have here adv., here 
vb., dear} deer, near, appear, clear and Chaunticlere, 
cheer, beer, hier, here = tulit, lere = learn, lere = counten- 

' The reader will excuse the modern spelling, which serves to 
indicate more readily what dere is intended. 


ance, peer and compeer, sicere = neck, spere = sphere, 
emispere = hemispHiere, loere = doubt, year most commonly, 
fere == companion and ifere = in company, steer vb., 
steer = steersman, steer = ox, as well as the two classes 
of words of French derivation represented by manere and 
hachiler respectively. In the other class are words of A.S. 
derivation such as helper, miller, leader (where -er = A.S. 
-ere), and the corresponding feminines in -ster (A.S. -stre), 
as tapster, Jioppestere, the adverbs tliei'-e and where, were 
from be, were == protect, wear = gero, cZere = vexo, bear 
vb. and /(9?'&ear, hear n., i^ear vb., hei^e = her, T^ere = hair, 
ere = before, sioear vb., as well as numerous words which, 
as I have pointed out elsewhere, ^ rhymed with these as 
late as the close of the 16th century, though they are now 
pronounced with (ii) — ear vb., ear s., fea7-, gear, spear, 
weir, tear s. It is these words that in the ITorthern 
Dialect are fonnd, as in modern English, rhyming with 
here, dear, deer, &c. Possibly it was direct Scottish 
influence that under the Stuarts made (iir), (spiir), (fiir), 
&;c. fashionable, as it seems to have completed the change 
of a from (aa) to (ee) or (ee) : see my E. E. P., §§ 69 — 71. 
One early poem,' the Story of Genesis and Exodus, 
claims special mention. At first it puzzled me sorely. It 
seemed to abound in exceptions to the rule of Chaucer's 
pronunciation. It was only when I had very nearly 
finished my examination of the poem that I recollected 
one peculiarity of the Suffolk dialect (in which according 
to Dr Morris it is written), namely that in Suffolk there 
and where are sounded (dhiii) and (whiii). At once I 
saw that a line could be drawn on my paper so as to 
separate here, there, where, nere, &c. from lere, ivere, hunter e, 
&c. without a single exception. ^ 

1 E. E. P., § 3. 

^ It may be desirable to describe my modus operandi in collect- 
ing rhymes. On finding a distich with -ere — chere manere, for 
instance — I place these words near one another on one page of an 
open sheet of paper and connect them with a line, across which I 


But to return for a while to Chaucer. It may reason- 
ably be asked what light is thrown upon this question by 
Mr Cromie's carefully compiled Eyme-Index to the 
Ellesmere MS. of the Canterbury Tales. I will answer 
that question and give exact figures. Two or three 
observations however must be premised. 

It has been remarked above that yere {= annus) seems 
to have a double pronunciation in Chaucer and some other 
early poets, like toiiid and wind^ more and mair. We will 
therefore set that word aside. The use of the preterite 
here (= carried) also wafers considerably, rhyming in all 
Chaucer 8 times with one class, 7 times with the other. ^ 

make a short stroke every time that rhyme recurs. The next line 
is probably of two quite different words, and if analogy or 
etymology or previous observation has given reason to suppose 
that these would rhyme with the former — here (adv.) rivere, for 
example — I put these on the same page with a similar connecting 
line ; and with them I connect all subsequent rhymes in which 
any one of these words is found, as chere dere, Jiere matere^ &c. 
When a rhyme occurs such as there ere, tere millere, which I 
suspect to belong to a different class, I place these on the opposite 
page^ and connect with them other similar words when rhymes 
containing them occur. If an exceptional rhyme appears, as hei'e 
were, appeere where, the connecting line will cross from one page to 
the other, and thus the exception be clearly marked to the eye. 
Now in Genesis and Exodus these lines crossing the page, and 
marked with little strokes showing the repetition of the rhymes, 
were unexpectedly numerous : ner was connected with there and 
the line crossed, but a line connected it also with here (adv.) on 
the opposite page, and was also crossed ; ger (= annus) was con- 
nected by a crossed line with there, but by a line nine times crossed, 
and thus showing ten instances of that rhyme, with her (adv.) ; 
and there on the right-hand page, where I had set it down as sup- 
posing that it would rhyme with l}e7'e vb., &;c., had lines connecting 
it with hutuler, prisoner, miter — all derived from French words in 
'ier — which were on the left-hand page. I had expected scarcely 
any connexion between words on the opposite pages, as they were 
arranged according to the results of my previous study.of Chaucer's 
rhymes, but the expectation was disappointed. At last, however, I 
discovered that among the words on the right-hand page a 
tortuously meandering line might be drawn completely separating 
auter, hutxiler, ger = annus, here adv., there, ner, &cc., from dere 
vb., answere, huntere, dere = annoy, were = defend, to-tere, 
ger = gear, shere, &c., and not crossed anywhere by a line in- 
dicative of exception. . 

^ The two A.S. forms are hcsr and dear, = , as I believe, 
(beer) and (biiar). See E. E. P., § 108 and §§ 116—118. 


Enquere and requere furnish in all Chaucer 21 rhymes, 13 
with one class, 8 with the other; and Lyndesay makes 
these rhyme twice with words in -zVe or -yre^ 4 times with 
those that he spells with -eir, while the only rhyme of 
enquere in HandL Synne is with a word of the second class 
(J?er) : these two words therefore are doubtful, and we will 
set them aside. The two pronunciations of these words 
can be accounted for if we remember that they were 
irregular verbs even in Early J*rench ; that the infinitives 
(see Littre) were enquerre and requerre, while there were 
numerous forms with ^, such as requiert. In like manner 
we may set aside tere = a litter for a dead body. Mr 
Cromie takes this from the A.S. beer, but it may equally 
come from the French Mere?- Usage is divided, though in 
the Early English poets generally this hei^e is clearly taken 
from the French, not the English, original. 

If then we leave out all the rhymes formed with yere, 
here = tulit, requere and enquere, and lere = bier, what 
remains? A total of 330 rhymes is given by Mr Cromie, 
of which, according to my division of classes, only 5 are 
faulty.2 They are the following. In p. 44 of the 6-Text 
edition hreres rhymes with geres, though elsewhere it 
rhymes once with deer subst., and, the Old Gorman form 
being hriere, this is more in accordance with analogy. 
Second, in p. 184 grammeere = Mod. Fr. grammaire, 
rhymes with mateere, but as grammeere occurs nowhere 
else, I am not sure that this is an exception, yet will not 
claim for my argument the benefit of the doubt. Third, in 
p. 197 dextrer rhymes with wonger, the former word 
(= destrier) taking its ending from the French -ier, the 
latter from the A.S. -ere. This is an undoubted exception 
to the rule : there is not a second rhyme of the sort in all 
Chaucer. Fourth, in p. 383 we find frere = friar, which 

^ A fact overlooked in my E. E. P., p. 67. 
^ Every rhyme in the Eyme-Index being counted twice, the 
apparent number is 660, including 10 exceptions. 


in 38 other places in Chaucer belongs to the same class as 
here, rhyming for once with were the plural of was: a 
most certain exception. The fifth is at p. 431, where the 
adj. deere rhymes with were, the subj. of he. There are in 
all Chaucer only two other such rhymes formed by this 
adj. out of a total formed by it of not less than 251. These 
^ve (or four or perhaps only three) are the only exceptions 
out of 330. I have not reckoned however the rhyme of 
ever with 7iever, the last syllable being unaccented; and 
the apparent additional exception of the verb be7'e rhyming 
with the adverb here in p. 41, 1. 1421, is only apparent, 
the here in this place not being necessarily an adverb (as 
Mr Cromie takes it), but making perfectly good sense if 
taken as a pronoun = her. This is one passage out of 
many where the rhyme helps the reader to see at a glance 
the true sense of an otherwise ambiguous passage. That 
it may help to determine the genuineness or the contrary 
of doubtful lines, I have shown in my book in the case of 
fruitesteres rhyming with wafer eres.^ 

Briefly to restate this part of my argument, it may ba 
put thus. The word here has four distinct meanings : it 
may be (a) the verb hear, or (b) the adverb hei^e, or (c) the 
noun hair, or (d) the personal pronoun her. If it bears 
either of the first two meanings, it rhymes in all our 
Early English^ poets with dere adj., dere s., dere, chere, 
apjpeere, &c., and only very rarely and exceptionally 
with were from be, where, there, swere vb., forhere, &c. 
But it is with these latter words that it rhymes in either 
the third or fourth sense, and rarely or never with the 
former. So wei'-e has seven different meanings j it may be 
(a) the plural of was, it may be (b) the past subjunctive of 
the same verb, it may be (c) the modern verb to wear, or 
(d) the now obsolete loere ^= protect, it may mean (e) war, 

* E. E. P., p. 69, footnote. 

^ Once for all, under this term here and commonly I include 
Middle English, in accordance with the practice of the Early 
English Text Society. 


or (f) husband, or (g) douM ov jperplexlty. In the first six 
of these senses it rhymes with tliere and its class, in the 
last sense only does it rhyme with deere, deere, &c., and it 
rhymes with these — with only two exceptions that I have 
discovered anywhere — not only in Chaucer, but in Lynde- 
say's Poems, where it occurs in no fewer than 27 rhymes, 
in Handlyng Synne, in Eobert of Brunne's Chronicle, and 
in short in the whole of our Early English poetry. And 
a similar distinction is clearly marked in the use of all 
-words with this termination — three or four only ex- 
cepted, — provided only they form a sufficient number of 
rhymes to yield any evidence that can be relied on. 

Kot many minds that are not quite impervious to 
reasoning will resist the proofs here adduced that we have 
two distinct classes of words in -ere in Early, as in Modern, 
English, of which the two adverbs now pronounced (niii) 
and (dheei) may be taken as types respectively; and inas- 
much as the same can be proved by similar evidence to be 
true of words in -eke^ -ene, -ete, &c.,^ and neither of these 
classes (except very rarely words of the second class) will 
rhyme with sette, hedde, henne, and other such words with 
the short e; we thus see that there were in the 14th 
century three different sounds represented by one and the 
same written symbol, just as at present. The next question 
therefore is, what were these sounds ? As to the short e, 
and as to the second or there class, Mr Ellis believes, as I 
do, that the vowel was sounded as at present — (set), (nen) ; 
(dheea), wheej). 

]\iore fully given, Mr Ellis's view is that certain 
"rhymes lead irresistibly to the conclusion that the one 
general sound of e, ee, ea, eo, oe, ie in Chaucer was (ee) 
long or (e) short, and they leave no room to conclude that 
e was ever pronounced as (i) except in the prefix he which 

we findP written indifferently he hi Perhaps 

the e was generally broad, as (e) ^ rather than (e). . . . 
^ See E. E. P., §§ 95—99. ^ u u^^^^ ^ bleat," Ellis's E. E. P., p. 4. 


We must be content with, one form (e) for the, possibly, 
three forms (e, e, b). It is indeed very probable that all 
three coexisted, and were not discriminated by the speakers 
themselves." 1 The evidence above given sbows that the 
sounds written with e were discriminated, at least into two 
main classes, and that the distinction was very broad, very 
clearly marked, and universally recognized. 

Our inquiry then is now how were here adv. and vb., dei^e 
adj., chere, hachiler^ &c., pronounced % Did they differ only 
as the German Herr (neer) and Heei* (Heer), or the Devon- 
shire there (dheei) and their (dheei) ? Or was the difference 
wider and more marked than this? In answering this 
question I shall maintain the following propositions : — 

1. There is direct and positive evidence from several 
different quarters that the sound was (ii) ; 

2. There is direct and positive evidence that the 
symbol, namely i, to which Mr Ellis attaches the sound of 
long (ii), did not in Chaucer's English represent that sound, 
but the widely different one of (ei), or some approximation 
to that diphthong ; and 

3. There is direct and positive evidence that the e in 
these words was not the close {ee), inasmuch as that sound 
is abeady provided for by another symbol, ai or eL 

Each of these propositions I shall endeavour to main- 
tain by several separate and independent arguments ; and I 
wish earnestly to call attention to the fact that all these 
score or so of independent arguments support one another, 
and constitute a great mass of cumulative evidence. This 
is not a train of deductive reasoning in which a single 
fallacy or false premiss vitiates the whole. It is not a 
chain which drops asunder if a single link gives way. It 
is not a product of engineering skill the strength of which 
is to be measured by the strength of its weakest part. The 
unsoundness of these views can only be demonstrated by 
my being dislodged, point after point, from every one of 
^ Ellis's E. E. P., p. 2G3. 


tke positions I have taken up. Nothing can be more 
absurd than the course adopted by a German reviewer, 
E. W.^ in the Literarisclies Centralblatt^ who pulls out of 
the entire fabric one single brick which he imagines to be 
defective, and which he holds up to the amusement and 
amazement of mankind, while it never occurs to him to 
consider whether the building as a whole has any archi- 
tectural merit or any adaptation to the purpose for which 
it was designed. As to that particular brick, we will have 
a look at it again by and by. 


1. The first argument which I shall advance in support 
of my first proposition is based on our traditional English 
pronunciation. In most — so far as I am aware, in all — 
of our dialects the vowel is (ii) in the words of English 
origin in the class we are discussing ; in here adv., hear 
vb., dear adj., deer s., near^ &c. 

It is not necessary to repeat here the reasons I have 
elsewhere^ given for believing in the normal stability of 
our dialects, which, as I contend, have remained in a great 
degree unchanged for centuries, till the ponderous roller of 
national education comes in our time to level all distinc- 
tions in modes of speech. As to the notion that the Wars 
of the Eoses would occasion a vast change in the mode of 
speech of the whole nation, never did Queen Mab spin a 
flimsier cobweb in the brain of any man. Let us hear 
what Mr Elworthy says of the stability of the West 
Somersetshire dialect. 

"We in our benighted regions have now (raa^l•r(9o^dz),.. 
(tal'igraamz), and (traak'shon iin'dzhznz), bringing with 
them new ideas and enlarged knowledge ; but we do not 
find that the (Ap kan-tri meen) who come with them are 
in sufficient number to make any impression upon local 
pronunciation ; and we find too that the words whick th6y 

' E. E, P., §§ 6—10 and p. 118. 


import into the district are adopted as words, but with 
more or less different sounds attached to them, and I have 
no doubt but that similar results attend the importation of 
words into all other districts." With this opinion I 
heartily agree. And this testimony has reference to this 
19 th century, in which the "commyxstion and mellynge" 
of the people is immeasurably greater than at any earlier 
period of our history. 

Yet this assertion of the stability of our dialects needs 
to be supplemented. It cannot for a moment be questioned 
that dialects have been and are exceedingly unstable in 
some other countries and in widely different circumstances. 
The authorities quoted by Professor Max MtLller (Lect. II.) 
are quite sufficient to establish this conclusion. The 
question remains, though this is not a fitting time for its 
discussion, what causes tend to promote or hinder change ; 
but it may be confidently asserted that the periodical scir- 
gem6t, the hundred-court holden monthly, and the fre- 
quent meetings of the tithing and of the gild, must have 
had a powerfully conservative influence on spoken lan- 

Besides, why should our language be so strangely ex- 
ceptional ? There is abundant reason to believe that the 
ancient pronunciation in the main^ and as to the accented 
stems and root-syllables of words, has survived throughout 
Spain, Portugal-, Italy for Latin, and that of Greek in the 
main in modern Greece. German scholars pronounce 
medieval German as much as possible like modern German^ 
and the probability is that they are right (except on certain 
points in Moeso-Gothic). In Icelandic there" has probably 
been very little change during eight centuries. And as to 
Early French, Genin's dictum is commonly, and (I venture 
to think) rightly, accepted : ^' Les mots anciens se pro- 
non9aient comme se prononcent aujourd'hui les mots 
modernes. qui les ont remplaces."i It is precisely this 
^ I quote from Pellissier, La Langue fran9aise, p. 113, not 


principle", of course with numerous implied exceptions, for 
wMch I contend as applicable for the most part to English, 
also. The analogy of other languages certainly does not 
favour Mr Ellis's belief that every long vowel and diph- 
thong in the English tongue, a few favoured words ex- 
ceptedj changed its sound — (aa) to (ee) or (ee), (ee) to (ii), 
(ii) or (it) to (ei), (oo) ^ to (oo), (uu) to (qu),^ (yy)^ to (iu), 
(au) ^ to (aa), (eu) ^ to (iu), (ai) ^ to (ee) — all in about two 
hundred, years, or not much more. 

2." Secondly, of Chaucer's e words many at a later 
time are written with ee, as hee, queen, sheep ; or in a few- 
cases with the single e still, and a final e. mute as sign of a 
long preceding vowel, as here adv., and sphere ; while a, 
large number have changed Chaucer's e into ea, ]^ow the 
traditional pronunciation of many of this last class is with 
(ee) or (ee) ; of the former all have (ii). Thus we have 
tredk,^ great, hreath, death, hread, dead, tear vb., swear, 
hear vb., and noun, and this list might be largely increased, 
especially by the aid of the dialects y" while we have also 
meeJc,^ seek, feet, geese, heel of the body, steer vb. and noun, 
speed, heed, need, feed, hleed, succeed, creed, treed, steed, 
seem, deem, seen, keen, green, fifteen and other numerals, 
and so on. !N'ow words like hreaJCj great, hear, swear, 
belong with few exceptions (such as appear) to Chaucer's 
second class ; those spelt later with ee to the first, I think 
without a single exception. Thus orthography comes to 
the aid of tradition in fixing by analogy (ii) as the vowel 
of here, &c. Because it must be further observed that 
these words never have been customarily spelt with ea. 

having succeeded in finding the words in Genin's Variations du 
Langage frangais. 

* As in the Italian parlb, aurora, Eiiropa^ hai, the vowels 

^ As in how, house. ^ As in French, /w^^. 

'* In Chaucer hrehe, grete, hrethe, &c. 

^ In the West of England sea is (s^^), 2^^^t (p^^t), read (r^^d) ; 
"but see and reed are (sii), (riid). 

^ In Chaucer mehe, seTie, feet, gees, &c. 


At least I do not remember to have seen in MSS. or books 
of any age of English, even when onr orthography was as 
yet but imperfectly settled, a sentence such as might tell 
of " fifteen green geese seen feeding at the meek queen's 
heels/^ with even one of these words written with ea» In 
later times when ween and wean, weeTc and weaJc, heel and 
heal, &c., are sounded alike, mere ignorance will confound 
one mode of spelling with another ; but my argument has 
reference to the orthography that was commonly recognized 
among learned or at least educated men during the 15th. 
16 th, and 17 th centuries = 

3. Thirdly, I would present an argumentum ad auctori- 
tatem analogically applied. In the Elizabethan age, when 
it is admitted by Mr Ellis that sheep was pronounced as at 
present, we find Sir Thomas Smith (1568) describing this 
e (ii) as the e Anglicum,'^ What is implied in this designa- 
tion ] This, at least ; that Smith, a man of considerable 
learning, a true lover of antiquity, a careful student of lan- 
guage, and one whose chief study seems to have been 
pronunciation, recognizes this as the true English sound. 
Is it in any degree probable that a sound which almost 
within living memory had forced its way as a newcomer 
into the language would be acknowledged by such a man 
as Smith as mr k^oxriv "the English e"?- JSTo thing is 
more improbable. And if (ii) is the sound which the 
symbol e represented in sheep, to which the rhymes of 
three centuries or more show heep and sleep to have been 
similarly pronounced, while heap and leap had some 
different sound ^ — ^most probably (ee), as Mr Ellis also 
believes — we find here two small classes of words^apparently 
analogous to the much larger classes in which here and there 

' Elsewhere he prefers the feminine — " e Anglica," obviously 
soil, litera. 

^ Chaucer's evidence, however^ does not prove this : it is of un- 
certain tone and insufficient in quantity. But in other poets some 
proof is found. Thus Sir Philip Sidney makes heap, reap, leap 
rhyme together, and separately, deep, weep, keep, sheep, creep, sleep. 
In Ben Jonson cheap, heap, reap, leap rhyme together, and separ- 
ately, heep, steep, deep, sleep, weep, peep, sheep, creep. 


are typical individuals, and thus we liaye at least a strong 
presumption that as 

sheep : heap : : here : there 

This e, moreover, Smith expressly opposes to the Italian 
e when he says that perhaps we rightly now say, " Domine 
ne in furore per e Italicum, non quemadmodum olim per 
illud .e. Anglicum quod in hee cttm apis dicimus, aut me 
cum €/i£ nostro more loquamur, ohseruatur/'^ This " quem- 
admodum olim " clearly points to a more ancient pronunci- 
ation of the G in Latin words in this island than the (e) 
which he approved. 

4. But again, two words of the class we are discussing 
are among the oldest in the language, and might reasonably 
be expected to be found in some similar form in the nearest 
allied languages. Accordingly these words — here adv., and 
deer — are found in High German, Dutch, Platt-Deutsch, 
and Friesic, and in all of these the traditional pronunciation 
of the vowel is the same. !N"o doubt there may have been 
a time, far, far remote, when the ancestors of the Teutonic 
and of the Classical races occupied the same village or slept 
under the same roof, and when a wild animal was called 
by some such name as (deer) : the Latin ferus and the 
Greek ^rip or Qiip point to a name with no (i) sound in it. 
If we suppose this, the thought very naturally suggests 
itself that this (ee) by some trick of the Teutonic mouth 
(using the word Teutonic in its widest sense) became (jee), 
that this adscititious element next developed itself into a 
full vowel (iee), which in time become the more important 
part of the diphthong (iie), and finally the new colonist 
drove out the original settler altogether and only (ii) re- 
mained. But the pure (ee) stage of (neer) and (deer) must 
have been many centuries — millennia possibly — ^before the 
Canterbury Tales were written, and all the earliest forms 
both of the noun and of the adverb which are given by 
Graff, Lexel, Kilian, &c., contain an i : dius, dier, diar, 
djier^ tier, tior, and Jiier, Mar, Jiir, hie, hi. That there 
' De Ling. Gr. Pron., p. 14 v°. 


was an (i) soimd in these cannot be doubted ; perhaps 
indeed some of these forms may have been intended to 
represent sounds nearly if not quite identical with our 
English (diii), (niia). Thus Holland and Germany, with 
their traditional pronunciation and orthography of these 
two words, confirm the results already arrived at. 

5. A fifth argument is furnished by French traditional 
pronunciation and spelHng in such words as those from 
which Chaucer's inanere and hachiler were derived.^ In 
their early forms almost all of these contained an i. But 
some of them, it has been objected, had no i in their 
earliest forms. What of that, if they had it in or before 
Chaucer's time? It is sufficient for us to know what 
French was in his day. E'ow I have turned up in Littre 
all Chaucer's words of these two classes, and with the 
following results : — 

In the 10th century we find meiiestier, which in the 
nth became mestier. In the 12th we find areliier, aiimos- 
niere^ carpe7itier, corsier, costumiei^ dangler, descender, 
entier, erlier, messagier, olivier, panier, jpreiere, psaltier, 
riviere, and solier. In the 13th hordelier, celerier, dosfrier, 
dossiere, forestier, Jiostelier, liemier, marinier, poplier, 
tapicier, and tavernier. In the 14th cornier e, familier, 
gauffrier, jartiere, papier, and officier. Other words in 
Chaucer, but which do not appear in French literature 
till the 15th or 16th century, are hrassiere, clappier (of 
which however there is an earlier form, dapoire), enfermier, 
jaulier, pantiere, and prisonnier, ITone of these words are 
found ending simply in -er ox -ere, all have the i.^ 

In the following nine the forms in er, and ie7% are con- 

^ I pronounce all these words like the modern English engineer^ 
cashier , arrears, &c., whatever the spelling is now or was in the 
14th century. 

^ Chaucer's forms, with minor variations, are — myster, archeer, 
awmere, carpenter, corser, custommer, daunger, spenser, entere, 
erbere, messager, olyver, panyer, preyere, sawter, ryvere, soler ; 
celerer, cloystrer, dosser, forester, hostileer, limer, maryneer, 
popeler, tapycer, taverner ; corner, familer, waferer, garter, papeer, 
officer ; bracer, claper, fermerer, gayler, panter, prisoner. 


temporary: ijremier and premer, in the 11th. century; 
houteiUier and huteiller, chamber lev e and chamber ere^ cor- 
delier and cordeler, colter and coler, Jiospitalier and hos- 
pitauler, in the 13fch; particulier and particuler, in the 
15th. In five the form in -er, is later than that in -ier : 
consellier (10th century) becomes cunseiller (12th) ; esquier 
(11th) also escuer (12th) ; biere = bier (11th) is also herre 
(12th); pilier (12th) also piler (13th); esc/ieHer (12 th), 
eschelcer (13th). And in thirteen the later form, so far as. 
Littre's quotations afford evidence, has the ^, which the 
older one wants : chiere (12th century), chere (11th) ; clier 
(12th), cler (11th); derrier (12th), derere (11th); destrier 
(12th), destrer (11th); plenier (12th), plener (11th); 
tresorier (12th), tresorer (11th); vergier (12th), verger 
(11th) ; laurier (13th), lorer (11th) ; seculier (13th), secider 
(12th); escoller (14th), escoler (12th); regulier (14th), 
riuler (13th); bachelier (15th), haceler (11th); bouclier 
(16th), bucler (llth).i Now in half of the words which 
have the double form — that is 14 out of 27 — the form with 
i is contemporary with or even earlier than the other. But 
if the modern French pronunciation may be accepted as a 
guide, the i in all such words as pre-mier, fa-mi-lier, ma- 
nie-re, &c. not forming a separate syllable, this seems to 
suggest the possibility that bonder and bouclier were only 
different modes of representing the same sound.. Icelandic 
scholars tell us that in old MSS. her and ser stand for her 
and ser (njeer) (sJeer), and that we may not infer the 
pronunciation to have been simply (neer) and (seer) because 
the accent was not written. This is, to say the least, not 
improbable. An early and immature orthography is very 
likely to meet with sounds in actual sjDeech which it knows, 
not how to deal with. And it was probably the same in 
French, and — as I venture to conjecture — this semi-vowel 

* Chaucer's forms, with minor variations, are — primer, boteler, 
chambrere, matere, banere, cordiler, coler, hospitaler, particaler, 
counseler, squyer, beere, piler, chekker, cheere, cleere, derere (as iu 
warderere = gare derriere == look out behind), dextrer, plener, 
tresorer, verger, laurer, seculeer, scoler, reguler, bacheler, bokeler. 


which preceded the (ee) was coifounded by the English 
and Teutonic ear with the distinct vowel (ii), and then 
became (ii) in the English and Teutonic mouth, even to the 
extrusion of the original (ee). This has certainly been the 
case in the Dutch and German forms such as offizier, &c. 
So far as the I m concerned — for half of these words end in 
'ler — I take it to have Itad in such cases the power of the 
gl (nearly) in Italian, the U in Spanish, and the Ih in 
Portuguese. Although therefoi-e bacJieler and hocler do 
not appear in forms with i in French literature earlier than 
the 15 th and 16 th centuries respectively, yet it is easily 
conceivable and highly probable that these words — as well 
as many, or indeed all, of the others — ^may have had the 
sound of (jee) quite as much when written without the i as 
when written with it. 

There yet remain a few of these words of which I 
cannot give a good account. The modern Erench par- 
donn&wr is not equivalent to Chaucer*s pardoner, and 
Erench Kterature — at least so far as I can learn from Cot- 
grave, Kelham, Matzner, or Littre — ^has no forms corre- 
sponding to his annueleer, corniculer, herheger, laborer, I 
suppose aU these words, as well as gospeler and scryveneer, 
to have been used by Chaucer as analogous forms to 
ccmnseler and archeer. Seven words he makes continually 
to rhyme with the- class now under consideration, notwith- 
standing that the Erench forms appear to have had only 
(eer) : they are, antipJioner, peer and compeer, frere, sopeer, 
dyner, homager, and spere = sphere. But antipJioner 
occurs only once (forming two rhymes) in all Chaucer, 
homager only once, and the argument will suffer very little 
if even we were to add three faulty rhymes ' to the very 
moderate number already reckoned. 

On the other hand, in Early Erench matiere has also 
the form matire (13th century), and some words appear 
in what I have called the first class of -ere words in 
Chaucer and his contemporaries, which are anglicized from 
Erench words that knew no other form than those in (iir), 


as saphere, pleasir (Lynd.), ley sere (Handl. Synne), Fr. 
safir, plaisir, leisir. And is not Chaucer's poweer similarly 
to be accounted for ? True, in modern French the form is 
pouvoir ; but in the very earliest specimen of French that 
exists, the famous oath of. Lewis the Germanic (842), it is 
podlr. Matzner has the word only in the form pooir, 
Littre's examples give the same with only two exceptions 
to the end of the 14th century. How then was this pro- 
nounced? The Burgundian oi, so common as (wa) in 
modern French, we know to have been (wee) 300 years 
ago ; but in many of these words there is a radical (i),^ 
which makes it probable that the (wee) is itself changed 
from an earlier (wii). If so, the 9th century (podiir) 
dropping the middle consonant becomes (po'iir), which 
with the necessary euphonic insertion of the semi-vowel 
becomes (po'wiir). This I believe to be just the sound 
that pooir was intended to represent, and that Chaucer 
meant the very same when he wrote poioere or poweer. 
Only the first vowel may have stood for (uu). One of 
Littre's 12th-century forms is pouolr = (puu'wiir), while 
in the 14th century pouer = (puu'weer) comes in, whence 
(puu'vweer) and (puu'vwar), 


I proceed now to my second proposition : tha^t there 
is evidence that the symbol — namely i — to which Mr 
Ellis attaches the sound of long (ii) did not represent 
that sound, but the widely different one of (oi), as in 
modern English, or at least some sound closely approach- 
ing (ei). 

1. My first argument is again based on the traditional 
pronunciation of mine, thine, loife, knife, &c., in the great 
majority of our English dialects throughout the island, 

* Thus Toyne from regina, froid from frigidus, poivre from 
piper, ig)loir from glir-, moins from minus, &c. ; besides the large 
class of words in which the i is supposed to have assumed preced- 
ence of the consonant which it used to follow, as gloire from 
gloria, Uviolii from testimonium, dortoir from dormitorium, &c. 


north, south, east, and west. In the western counties the 
sound is perhaps more commonly (a^') or (aa^y than (ei), 
as it is also in parts of Yorkshire and Derbyshire and 
elsewhere ; in the vale of G-loucester it is (oi) ^ ; in South 
Lancashire (A^) ; in each of the three Scottish dialects of 
which Dr J. A. H. Murray gives so full an account it 
approximates to (qi) ; and sometimes one hears (sei). This 
widely prevailing tradition establishes a strong presumption 
that (ei) is the true ancient sound^ or rather, one of the 
ancient sounds. For there is reason to believe that there 
was as great a variety 'of pronunciation in different parts 
of the island 500 or perhaps 1000 years ago as at the 
present day, perhaps even greater ; and it may be readily 
admitted that in some words in some districts the sound 
of (ii) is also a true ancient sound, as in the Kentish 
(diik) for dike, and the Devonshire (Hit) for little, which 
existed within living memory. 

2. We have next the traditional pronunciation of 
numerous HoUandish words akin to, or rather identical 
with, their English equivalents : mijn, fijn, wijiiy scJdjn, 
lijn, zwijn, hijten, smijten, &c., &c. These again afford a 
strong presumption that at that remote epoch when our 
Saxon and Angle sires dwelt side by side with the fore- 
fathers of the Hollanders, they all alike would speak of 
(main fain wain) ; and the existence in High German of 
the same words, pronounced in the same manner^ points 
to the' same conclusion. 

Let me not be misunderstood. It is quite possible 
that the prevailing pronunciation of the ii in the Low 
Countries was (ii), as Erasmus seems to show ; ^ neverthe- 
less the earliest known pronunciation in the province of 

^ For West Somerset see Mr El worthy's lists. 

^ As in bf?y, noise. 

^ When he gives wi^t and wijn as containing the same sound 
as wit and win, only lengthened ; and in asserting, " Quum dico 
is " [i. e. the Latin is = thou goest] " ab eo, sic enuntio quemad- 
modum Batavi glaciem (ijs) : quum lis unde litis, sic effero quem- 
admodum Gallus sonat lilia." De Lat. G-r. que Sermonis Pron., p. 
143 : edit. Froben, 1530. 


Holland was (91) or some sound close akin to this. Siegen- 
beek, quoted by Mr Ellis (p. 295), affirms that this had 
been changed from an earlier (ii), but proof of this change, 
so far as I am aware, is wholly wanting. The sound of ii 
or ij with the Hollanders, which through political and 
literary influences spread throughout the JSTetherlands, was 
(ei) : other provinces adopted this as a new pronunciation, 
but there is no evidence that Holland had ever done the 

3. If we appeal to the grammarians of the 17th century, 
we find Miege (1688),.Wilkins (1668), and Wallis (1653), 
all recognizing the diphthongal character of our long i, 
which earlier writers seem not to have noticed ; Gil, Cheke, 
Smith, and others could not discern the diphthongal sound 
when written with a single symbol. But we find Gil 
(1621) comparing the three words win = conquer, tveen = 
think, and wine. The last of these is supposed by Mr 
Ellis to have been sounded then in England w^ith the 
Scotch long % in which we learn from Dr Murray (p. 113) 
" the second element is very distinctly ee [that is (ii)], and 
is less overshadowed by the preponderance of the first 
element than in English." But not only do we seem to be 
treading on very unsafe ground when we endeavour to 
establish such minute distinctions at so great a distance of 
time, but if the difference that existed in Gil's time 
between luiuj ween, and wine was not broad and clear_, it is 
hard to see how he could boast of this last vowel as 
" antiquum ilium et masculinum sonum," and triumphantly 
quote the authority of Lipsius, w^ho commends the Britons 
as almost alone of all Europeans preserving the true sound 
of words like regina, arnica, vita, &c. And be it observed- 
Gil calls this " that ancient sound." Surely if it had in- 
truded into the language within the two centuries preced- 
ing, during which time so many books had been written 
on Pronunciation both in England and on the Continent, 
a man of learning like Gil, Head Master of St Paul's 
School, must have been aware of the fact. 


Half a century earlier tlian Gil we find Hart endeavonr- 
ing to induce "English Latinistes" to adopt, instead of 
what he calls " our errors/' " the Italian and High Dutch 
and Welshe pronounciation of their letters." Among these 
" errors " is this, that the English pronounced the i with 
the sound of et. And what sound was that ? Hart does 
not clearly show, hut Mekerch exemplifies it by the Fl. 
loosheit, scheiden, &c., and Erasmus by the Dutch for 
ovum (i. e. ei)j for paratus (i. e. hereit), &c. " At diph- 
thongum euidenter audire licet in lingua Germanorum, 
quum nominant Caesarem. . . . I^eque non sentitur 
apud nos diphthongus et, si Hollandice dicas ovum, paratus, 
uersutiae. Mains, facinus, seductus, caro. Apud Gallos 
haec rarius auditur." (De Lat. Gr. que Sermonis Pro., 
p. 108: Eroben^s Mit., 1530.) But among Erasmus's ex- 
amples he gives caro, by which he must mean, not the 
Low German vleesch surely, but the High German Fleisch, 
And what sound is this, a diphthong, rarely heard in 
Erench, and therefore differing considerably from the pure 
(ii), and represented in Elemish, Dutch, (and High Ger- 
man f) by ei ? It must be at least very like our (ei), if not 
quite identical with it. 

4. Fourthly, a Welsh writer, nearly a century before 
Gil's time, Salesbury (1547), gives very distinct evidence 
as to our long i, writing various English words-—/, vine, 
wine, (Eclies, thine, signes — in a manner which, as Mr ElHs 
admits, and as educated Welshmen have confirmed to me, 
indicates to a modern Welshman no other sound than (ei). 
And it must be remembered that if Salesbury wanted to 
express the sound of (ai), he had apparently no other or no 
better way of doing it than by writing ei, as'he did. And 
just as Salesbury, mindful of his Welsh alphabet, regarded 
i as the proper representative of (ii), so both Hart and 
Gil, men acquainted with foreign languages, to which they 
repeatedly appeal, looked at our mode of writing from a 
foreign point of view, and sought to conform it, if possible, 
to the continental pattern. They therefore of set purpose 


reseryed i or 'i for the sound of (ii), and supposing they 
required to represent (si), how could they have done it 
better than Hart did with (ei), in his steil, weiz, weizdum, 
jprezentlie, enter^preizy &c., or than Gil did with his j, in 
wjf, cTijld, wjz, eksidingly, &c. ? Whether this was an 
ancient sound or one newly invented in the 16 th century, 
having been utterly unknown in all the languages of man- 
kind till that age, if it needed to be expressed by a distinct 
written symbol, it is hard to say how that could have been 
better done by men who assigned to the symbol i a differ- 
ent function. 

Of these Grammarians Salesbury seems to me to 
furnish evidence so clear and .cogent that apart from the 
necessities of theory no doubt whatever would be enter- 
tained that he heard the English /, vine, thine, loine, as 
(ai), (voin), (dhoin), (wain). 

5. Still earlier than Salesbury we have Palsgrave 
(1530) expressly affirming that i had two distinct sounds 
in French (" .ii. dyuerse maners of souwdynges "), one of 
them like the Italian ^, and like our sound of e in tee, 
tier, peer, fee ; the other, found only at the beginning or 
end of a French word, being like the English y in hy and 
hy, spy, fly, awry, I have given proof elsewhere ^ that 
this y expressed the same sound as was also written with 
i: indeed this is not disputed. What then was that 
sound 1 Mr Ellis believes it to have been (ii) — the pro- 
longed sound of the English i in pit. But in what lan- 
guage does the sound exist? In none that I know of: 
certainly not in English or German, except when in 
singing the short vowel oi pit, pin, will, is unnaturally and 
wdth difficulty spun out ; certainly not in French, where 
the sound, long or short, is unknown. The French sounds 
are (i), (ii), and commonly a shade thinner than in the 
English peat, peel, seen ; indeed I doubt whether you can 
find a Frenchman, even one who has lived thirty years in 
England, whom a keen ear could not detect in a moment 
' B. E. P., § 14. 


by liis inability to pronounce pit, pin, will in our English 
mode : lie makes them (pit), (pin), (wil). 

Moreover that (li) suits the English organs of speech 
as little as the Erench or German may be judged by the 
manner in which a boy will shout out Teddy or Harry, 
prolonging the sound for the sake of emphasis : he says 
(tedee-), (nseree*) ; not (tedw*), (nserii*) ; for the simple 
reason that these words are unpronounceable. 

It will be objected that the sound of (ei) is equally un- 
known in French. But — ^for I am not contending for the 
exact classical English (ei), even if any two persons utter 
this with absolute identity of sound — (ai) does exist in 
Erench j and this (ai) is just as near to our (ai) as the (ii) 
of peat, steel, to that of ridie, ville : it only '^ exiguum 
distat " as Gil said of aye as compared with the i of thine. 
But where is (ai) in Erench % We get it precisely in the 
ordinary Erench pronunciation of trahison and hair, and 
in the vulgar Parisian aider for aider. ^ But here, it will 
be objected, we have the written a; nevertheless it proves 
nay point that the sound exists, while that of (ii) does not. 
And in provincial Erench even words written with the 
simple vowel, asjoU, *^ at Montebourg, only 15 miles S.S.E. 
of Cherbourg," 2 are even now sounded with (ai) as jolai. 
Of this fact Mr Ellis furnishes very ,explicit evidence, 
though he himself is not satisfied with it. And combining 
this evidence with that of Palsgrave, we may assert this 
(ai), or perhaps some sound even nearer to (qi), or perhaps 
(ai) itself, to have existed early in the 16th century in by 
and hy, spy, fly, awry, and the whole class of words repre- 
sented by these. 

But suppose it so, may not the sound even then have 
been (ii) in Chaucer's time, and have changed during the 
more than two centuries that elapsed between Chaucer and 
Palsgrave? Let us examine the elaborate argument by 

* It may be said that in trahir, hair, &c., the a and the i are 
sounded separately : but they are not at all more separate to my 
ear than in the English aye. 

* Ellis's E. E. P., p. 297 and 458, note: see also p. 460. 


whicli Mr Ellis undertakes to prove that Chaucer's long / 
was (it). 

The objection that this (ii) is not a true English sound, 
nor a sound known to any language of my acquaintance, is 
one that I will not further dwell on ; but must observe the 
remarkable result at which IMr Ellis has arrived in sup- 
posing that our language in the 14th century had, as to its 
vowels, such a curiously defective alphabet. In his Key 
to Palseotype Mr Ellis recognizes in ordinary modern 
English 27 vowels and diphthongs ; but in Chaucer — 
though he has no scruple about refining, or (shall I say) 
phonetic hair-splitting — he allows only 16 altogether, of 
which 7 are still in use, 9 are unknown in modern English. 
Has the whole genius of our spoken language altered 
during these 500 years, while all the other languages 
have undergone changes both slight and slow % It is hard 
to obtain exact information about our modern dialects of' 
English, but I find Dr Murray recognizes 22 vowels in the 
Southern dialect of Scotland, while Mr El worthy, assisted 
by Mr Ellis, Dr Murray, and Mr Sweet, discovers no fewer 
than 41 in the dialect of West Somerset. Yet Chaucer 
has only 16, of which only (aa), (ee), (e), (i), (uu), (u), and 
(ai) survive — the last in one word only, aye = yes. Of 
the 20 omissions, if we compare Mr Ellis's theoretical 
Chaucer with modern English, the most notable^ not to 
mention the diphthongs (ai), (oi), (ou) and (iu), are (ee), 
(oo), (aa), and, strangest of all, (ii), with the short vowels 
corresponding to these. But as in one or two places (pp. 
280 and 284) Mr Ellis seems to slur over the distinction 
between (ii) and (ii) as hardly essential to his argument, 
let his case have the benefit of the doubt, and let us see why 
we must believe i to have an (i) sound in the 14th century. 

The evidence which Mr Ellis derives from exceptional 
rhymes, simply on the principle that Chaucer and Gower 
had no imperfect rhymes,- must be unceremoniously set 
aside : the principle, as I showed in the early part of this 
paper, is false, and the evidence falls to the ground. Such 


rhymes as list best, abridge allege, yet wit, occur in our 
poets of every age — inexact in eyery case, and proving 
precisely nothing. 

Then again, in words of French derivation terminations 
that contained i were in French sounded with (i) or (ii), 
and "it would he difficult to suppose that Chaucer, who 
was familiar with French, and in the spirit of the times as 
shewn by the contemporary practice of Gower, was intro- 
ducing it into English, could have changed the French 
sound." I will not repeat here what I have said elsewhere^ 
as to the tendency of all nations, ourselves by no means 
excepted, to assimilate foreign words to more familiar 
forms, as is still done in West Somersetshire and doubtless 
in every part of England. We constantly anglicize : al- 
ways have done so : if Chaucer did otherwise with French 
words, he acted contrary to the national custom^ as well as 
to his own practice in regard to other proper names, witness 
Alisaundre, Pruce, Ruce, Lettow, Gernade, Algezir, Galice? 
which are neither the native names of places nor the 
French forms of those names, but anglicized pronunci- 
ations, as much as (madii-re), (sher•^), (dendzhuu^'en), (mek*- 
szco), are now. 

When Mr Ellis says he "cannot force himself to sup- 
pose "^ the i in these words ever to have been sounded as 

^ E. E. P., p. 64. 

^ i. e. probably (aUsAn'di), (pruus), (runs), (let'ouu), (dzher*- 
naad), (al'dzhazair), (galais*). The final e not to be sounded. It 
is impossible to believe with Mr Ellis that Chaucer's poetry con- 
tained 70 per cent of weak rhymes. 

* As to this form of argument I may with equal justice urge 
that " Z cannot force myself to suppose " the e in here to have been 
anything else than (ii), or the i in wine and ey in tUe-g anything 
else than the (8i) and {ee%) which they are at this day. Such an 
argument is of course an appeal to the general impression produced 
by long continued study of a subject. But I too, as well as Mr 
Ellis, have been engaged for many years in these investigations, 
having given "Headings from Chaucer" before the Plymouth 
Institution as early as October 21st, 1858, and having exchanged 
letters on the subject a year or two earlier still with my old friend 
and schoolfellow the present Prof, of A.S. to the University of 
Oxford ; and the general impression which I have received is. 
exceedingly strong in favour of the very slow changes of spoken 
language. See my E. E. P., pp. 117, 118j footnote. 


(di), not only is lie, in regard to some of these words, 
speaking in plain defiance of Salesbury's (not to say Pals- 
grave's) authority, but with equally little ceremony he sets 
aside that of Butler, Gil, and Hart. Mr Ellis objects to 
the long I in the termination of superlatif, motif, inquisitif ; 
but even as late as 1633 Butler gives indicative as the 
correct sound, and Gil (1621) gives haitjv the j = (ai), 
as Mr Ellis admits, — ^and Hart speaks of miseiv letters. 
Mr Ellis objects to ncJie, but Gil writes rjc?t, as the vowel 
is long also in Dutch and German. In like manner Gil, 
in perfect agreement with Palsgrave^ gives enemj, maladj, 
adulterj, mizerj, Itonstansj (notwithstanding the accent on 
the first syllable in ordinary conversation, he takes pains 
to tell us^), and pure English words in like manner, as 
everj, opnlj, and -Ij always where we now have the short 
(-1/); and in this he is supported by Hart (1569). Gil, 
however, tells us the usage as to some of these words varied 
in his time : the vowel was long or short. 

Another argument is based on the shortening of (oi) 
into (^) : how can we explain that (swbiz) gives 
(s^v^l^zee•shen) *' except on the theory that ('/) was the 
original normal sound *? " I fail to see the difficulty. The^ 
(oi) is shortened into {i) quite irrespective of such a theory , 
simply by dropping the first element in the diphthong and 
shortening the remaining one. Precisely so when, throw- 
ing back the accent, we change NeivfoundHand into NeiJ- 
foundland, the found becomes (fund) or (f^nd), the first 
part of the diphthong disappearing altogether. 

Again, an appeal is made to the naturally short vowel 
in India. But our poets, true to the instincts of the 
nation, anglicized the word, and (oind) resulted. Mr 
Ellis quotes from Chaucer rhymes of this word with find 
and hind, and in Allit. Poems, jd. 3, we have it rhyming 
with blind ; and we have the evidence of the Ormulum for 

^ " Numerus poeticus paroxytonis [proparoxytonis ?] in i saepe 
ultimara productam acuit ; ut mizerj, Iwnstansj, destlnj ; unde 
etiam in prosa fere obtinuit ut ultima vel longa vel brevi gequaliter 
scribantur & pronuncientur, non aeuantur tamen." 


the long vowel in all of these words. Moreover in Allit. 
Poems, ibid., ynde rhymes with schynde, preterit of 
scynen = (shoin-en) as I still believe, but which no one 
can imagine to have been (shm*en). 

Then there are rhymes with Latin words ending in /, 
and it is argued that " it is difficult to suppose that Latin 
was at that time so mispronounced as to have i called (ei). 
The Eoman Catholic tradition must have saved this 
heresy." I have shown in my book (§ 89) that this 
Boman CathoHc tradition had no existence ; and it is 
precisely this vowel in reference to which Lipsius declared 
that the Britons stood almost alone. 

6. And this leads me to observe, dismissing Mr Ellis's 
work for the time, that it is too commonly taken for 
granted that the Latin and Greek long / was universally (ii). 
I will not again quote the authority of Lipsius, nor that 
of Mekerch,^ nor repeat (see my E. E. P., p. 18, note) 
what Sir Thomas Smith wrote about the Englishman's 
being able to converse with the Lombards in Latin, though 
he could not with a Frenchman. Just as in modem 
Germany there are different pronunciations existing side 
by side — (main wain) and (miin t^iin), — so it may well 
have been the case in ancient Italy ; and as inscriptions 
have been found in various parts of Italy, in which the 
long i is represented by ei, this mode of writing affords at 
least a presumption that the mode, or at any rate one 
mode, of sounding the letter was as a diphthong. Two 
letters were exhibited to the eye, and those who first thus 
wrote ameicus, ;pveimus, &c., did so most probably because 
they had two closely combined sounds to .express by the 
two letters; and it can be no matter of surprise if this 
particular combination was deemed suitable 2000 years 
ago to indicate that very sound which it indicates in 
modern Dutch and German and (in a few instances) in 

* Jlongnm antiquis Eomanis proferebatur ut hsec diphthongus 
fi, hoc est ei, et e inclusum habebat. 


And now for that " ray of light from ancient Greece " 
which has afforded so much amusement to my German 
critic and others. I will endeavour to state my argument 
more perspicuously. 

Two of our English ^ words are found in almost all the 
modern Teutonic languages, pronounced in some with 
(ii), in others with (ai), and are also found both in Latin 
with its derivative languages and in ancient and modern 
Greek. Some suppose that one of these words is not in- 
digenous to the Teutonic languages, but borrowed from 
the Latin, which however does not affect the argument, as 
the word is found in the earKest literature of, I believe, 
all the Teutonic races. The words are toine & wiJce,'^ which 
have a diphthongal sound in English, Dutch, and High 
German, but have the pure (ii) in Platt-Deutsch and 
Icelandic, as well as in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. ^ 
But what was the sound in Greek '^ I answer, a diph- 
thong : not the pure vowel. N'othing is more improbable 
than that the oi of oIvoq was a pure vowel, though it is 
(ii) in Modern Greek. But it may be said that in oJvoq 
and oIkoq the o is only a modification of the original 
digamma. I might reply by falling back on the authority 
of Immanuel Bekker, in whose edition of Homer these 
words are always given with both the digamma and the 

* Still found in the names of Wyke and HechmondwyTie near 
Bradford, Wyke Regis near Weymouth, Wyken near Coventry, 
Wyheham near Scarborough, and JEast Wykeham near Louth in 
Lincolnshire, in all of which the wyhe is sounded with the long 
vowel, as in lihey dike^ Mike. (I am indebted to the courtesy of 
the clergy of these parishes for this information.) 

^ In Moeso-Gothic the words are written wein and iveihs, the 
spelling of which might seem to indicate a diphthong, the (i) 
sounds being represented by -i, or occasionally ?. But Ulphiias 
borrowed his alphabet mainly from the Grreeks, and the frequent 
interchange of i and el in Early Greek MSS. shows that before the 
age of Ulphiias si had already approached, if it had not even fully 
adopted, the sound of i (ii) which it still has in modern G-reek. 
Yet it is important to remember that the Western Germans received 
their religion and civilization from the- West (not from Constanti- 
nople, as the Goths of Moesia did), and therefore also the Latin 
alphabet, not that which Uphilas had formed on a Greek basis. 
Hence, even if the M.G. ei was (ii), this furnishes no ground what- 
ever for supposing that the High German ei was ever (ii). 


o — Foirog, Foikoq, I have preferred looking for older 
authority, and have found it, at least reference to the latter 
•word — oT/xoe, Foikoq,^ In one of the most ancient in- 
scriptions given by Boeckh we have TAN FOIKIAN, and 
this evidence is confirmed by that of other inscriptions, 
seeming to leave no doubt that the F in such words was 
not followed by a pure (ii). Thus we have several 
centuries before Christ in Italy (wiik) and (wiin) — per- 
haps other forms also — and in Greece some approximation 
to (walk) and, judging from analogy, (wain), just as we 
have when we compare the Platt-Deutsch and the Hoch- 
Deutsch at the present day ; and thus is shown the doubt- 
fulness of that premiss from which such far-reaching con- 
clusions have been drawn, that words commonly written 
with z in Southern Europe must have been in their earliest 
form sounded with nothing but (ii). 

Those at any rate who contend that the class of words 
we are at this moment dealing with had (ii) for their 
vowel, have this fact to account for, .that at least one im- 
portant and probably typical word of this class had a 
diphthong in the earliest Greek we know. 

To myself it seems probable that at that distant period 
when the ancestors of Teutons, Latins, and Hellenes all 
dwelt side by side, they had words in common which even 
then varied in pronunciation, some saying (wiin) and 
(wiik) with the pure (ii), while others sounded the words 
with (oi) or some similar diphthong ; but I frankly admit 
that the reasons assigned fall far short of demonstration. 
But if we limit our view to these recent centuries, in 
which we find Salesbury writing wine, &c., with the Welsh 
ei, and Palsgrave expressly asserting that sj)y, fly, &c., were 
not sounded with the Italian i, and if we further reflect 
that the little more than a century that elapsed between 
Chaucer and those two writers was wholly insufficient to 

^ I am not at all satisfied with Cleasby and Vigfusson's opinion 
that the Latin vieiis and the O.N. vw were entirely different words. 
The only difficulty is to show the connexion of meaning ; but 
Bosworth does this, helped by the Du. 7vijk, 


admit of so great a revolution in our language as the 
universal change of (ii) into (oi) ; we certainly have here 
weighty reasons for believing that Chaucer's mine and 
thine were also sounded with the Welsh ei, that is to say 
with the (ei) which is their recognized sound now. 


, I pass on from the arguments by which I seek to show 
that words written with i were not necessarily, and were 
not in fact, sounded with (ii), to come to my third pro- 
position. More fully expounded it is this. Supposing it 
proved that in Chaucer here was not sounded like there, and 
that the latter of these was sounded with (ee), it is at 
least plausible to assert that the former was sounded with 
(ee). That is what I shall endeavour to disprove. 

But first of all, inasmuch as most people are not con- 
scious, as Mr Melville Bell has justly remarked, that when 
they sound the word fate'^ they are sounding a diphthong, 
and inasmuch also as the pure (ee) is scarcely known to 
our language, and inasmuch as I utterly despair of our 
being able with the best phonologic telescopes to discern 
such minute distinctions through the haze and mist of five 
long centuries, I shall assume the right to speak under 
this head of the vowel in aerial, ailing, fate, day, whey, 
loeigh, &c., however spelt, and with no attempt to dis- 
tinguish these. This sound, I contend, did not belong to 
here and the whole class of words rhyming therewith, in- 
asmuch as it was habitually represented by ai or ei. And 
as it is an admitted fact that in Chaucer these digraphs re- 
presented one and the same sound, I undertake to prove that 
that sound was the (ee) or (eei) or (eei) of aerial, ailing, &c. 
1 and 2. This is not a case in which English and 
French tradition are opposed, as they are about i. The 
French aimer,^ retraite, Seine, the English day, whey, 

* Mr Ellis writes (fe^t) on p. 4, {ieeit) on p. 272. Surely the 
latter is more correct. Sophocles gives the very word as (pur. 
^ I am aware that aimer, kc, sound the ai or ei as e rather than 


remain, and many words common to both languages, as 
(veen), (pleen), all contain this sound, and afford at once 
a strong presumption that this was the ancient sound of 
the words thus spelt with ai or ei, as most of them have 
heen for more than five centuries, in these languages, un~ 
less distinct proof of change can be adduced. 

3. The words swain, dey, to die (not uncommon in 
Chaucer, rhyming with say, pray, obey), and raay, a maid, 
are simply Old ]^orse words, or belong to the North Angle 
dialect which was close akin to Old !N"orse ; and Icelandic 
tradition, coinciding with English and French tradition 
just quoted, gives us (swee?'dn), (deerja), {vaeei), 

4. It is very common in Early French to find a simple 
G written for ei or ai, thus indicating the sound of these 
digraphs. Mr Payne has collected numerous examples of 
e for at in ]N"orman French,^ but it is not confined to that 
dialect. In Joinville, for example, whose early education 
was with the count of Champagne, we find jamez, fere, fet, 
fesoient, mes, lesser, mestre, mauvese, megre, &c. And as 
to e where ei is the common form, a few examples are — 
vene (12th century), value and voine (13th), veine and 
vaine (14th), now veine; treze (12th), treize (13th); seigle 
(13th), segle (16th), now seigle; seignur (11th), segneur 
(13th); veant and veiant (11th), now voyant ; neif (l\ih), 
nege (14th), neige and noige (15th), now neige, 

5. At least one example of the converse of this change 
of orthography is furnished by Eob. Glouc.^s form Longespei 
for longue espee, 

6. Mr Payne has collected ample evidence that e and 
ei or ai stood for the same sound, in the rhymes of Early 
French poetry; apres rhyming with relais, retraire with 
manere, and so on.^ And, though I would never lay stress 
on exceptional rhymes, we tiaire (== hair shirt) rhymiug 
with faire ; this Jiaire, which is also written here in the 

4 but in any case it is not e like the e of our there. And see 
below, p. 44. 

^ Phil. See. Trans., 1868-9, p. 361. ^ Ibid., p. 387. 


Miracles St Loys as it is in Ciiaucer, being the same word 
as our hair, and the O.N", hcera (naarra), wMcli was 
formerly pronounced (neer'a).^ 

7. The grammarians, who however were all later than 
Chaucer, confirm the above results. Thus Meigret in his 
Phonetic Grammar writes fes, James, lesser, ;plere, trere, 
teson (= taisons), reson, &c., though with a diJBPerently 
shaped e from that which he uses in sucgeder, amez, ajoute, 
prete7'it, ecriuez, the former being elsewhere called the " e 
ouvert," the latter the '* e clos ; " and Palsgrave describes 
the sound of ei (which, as I shall show immediately, is 
often the same thing as ai with him) in language unmis- 
takeably plain ; " the e shall have his distinct sound, and 
the i to be sounded shortly and confusely." How after 
this can there be any difficulty % A difficulty arises thus, 
{a,) from the fact that there existed also both in French 
and in English the sound of (ai), a far less common sound, 
and Mr Ellis has mistaken, as frequently, the exception 
for the rule; and (&.) from the second fact that our 
English long (ee) has a power of generating the sound of 
(ai), which has added to the confusion. On these points 
it will be necessary to dwell a little. 

8. To deal with the first objection. I admit — indeed 
I have made use of the fact above — that the sound of (ai) 
existed in French. But to what extent did it prevail? 
Meigret gives only three examples— ^a^r, still so pro- 
nounced, and written with the puncta diaeresis; aydant, 
which we are told is still trisyllabic in the mouth of an 
uneducated Parisian, and indeed the separate syllable of 
aider can be accounted for by the early forms of the verb, 
such as the ajudha in the famous oath of Louis le German- 
ique ; and aymant, a loadstone, derived, through the Pro v. 
aziman, from adamas. Meigret, it is true, also writes aye 
as the subj. of avoir, but elsewhere he writes it with ey ; 
and aymer, to love, he expressly says, though the spelling 
would point to the sound of (a), is sounded eymer. 
^ See Cleasby and Yigfusson's Dictiouary, In trod., p. xxxv. 


And what says Palsgrave ? He evidently, like Meigret, 
thinks that (ai) is theoretically the true sound, and accord- 
ingly he describes the diphthong al as sounded ^^ a dis- 
tinctly, and the i shortly and confusely." But unfortun- 
ately he gives no examples with the rule. He recognizes 
paps, ayde, and Jidir, as having an i which "hath his dis- 
tinct sounde by hym selfe ; " and he tells us that futures 
in -ray, though written with ay, are sounded with ey. But 
his transliterations contain 27 words written with ai or ay, 
and a very unsatisfactory list it is. It contains eleven of 
the very words which Joinville's orthography and Meigret's 
Grammar and Mr Payne's lists show to have been sounded 
with (ee) or [ee) ; yet Palsgrave leaves the same ai or ay 
as exhibiting the pronunciation. The eleven are faid, 
TaissG, aymeT,fay,mauhiais,paix, naistre, faisant, villayney 
mais, vray, and it seems probable that four others would 
follow the analogy of these, namely, mondayne, vayiie, 
souuerayne, and secretaire. Eight others we may assert 
that Meigret would spell with ei,'^ craindre, crainte, loing- 
tain, ainsi, maintenir, depaindz, maint, and vainqueurs : it 
seems not unlikely that these were sounded nearly as at 
present. There remain four others, naufraige, eaige, plaige, 
oultraige, in which there can be no doubt (ai) was the 
sound, from the explicitness with which he elsewhere 
describes this termination. ^ This shoi^t (i) is lost in 
modern Prench. The list contains no word such as faillir, 
assaillir, hailler, but in this class also it is clear ^ that the 
sound was (ai), as it still is. But Palsgrave's inexactness 
in transliteration is shown in his having given on the same 
pages two other words in -age, aage another form of eaige, 
and courage, in neither of which has he inserted the i in 
the French to be explained, and in only one has he given 
it in the form which is to explain the sound — covrdige,^ 
But what does this inexactness shew ] This, I think : — 
that even in those words in which the (a) was radical, as 

* See Ellis's E. E. P., p. 118. ^ Lesclarcissement, p. 8. 

3 Ibid. ^ Ibid., pp. 56—64. 



naistre from nascor, paix from ^ax, the lialbit of modifying 
this (a), when combined with (i) following it, into (ee) or 
{ee) was so thoroughly established in national usage and 
so familiar to the writer that it was the most natural over- 
sight possible for him to leave these words unaltered, 
where a more painstaking and accurate writer, like Meigret, 
would have altered the symbol. Thus mats already ex- 
pressed to the eye the true sound : therefore, though in- 
advertently, Palsgrave left it unaltered. 

9. But again, having undertaken to disprove that ai 
and ei stood for (ai), I am obliged to indict Mr Ellis on 
the serious charge of utterly setting at defiance the authority 
of etymology. For let us look at some of the words given 
by Mr Ellis in Pt. II. of his work in the specimens of 
Chaucer's and Gower's pronunciation. We get here, first, 
of Latin origin — 

veyne from vena now veine 

^eine „ poena „ peine 

Mawdeleyne „ Magdalena ,^ Madelaine 

counseyl „ consilium „ conseil 

disdeyn „ dedignor „ dedaigner 

moneye „ moneta „ monnaie 

veyl „ velum later voele 

Beneyt „ Benedidus „ Benoet 

streyt „ stridus „ estroet ' 

besides pleyn horn, plenus, deceive from decipio, receyve from 
recipio, preye from precor, ceynt from cingo, oleysant from 
ohedire, feyne from fingo, and several others, all of which 
Mr Ellis would sound with (ai), though they have no (a) 
in the Latin. 

In like manner, of Teutonic origin — 

reyn, A.S. regn 

seyl, A.S. segel 

seyn, to say, A.S. secgan 

seyde, A.S. srnde 

way = via, A.S. weg 


ley, A.S. lecgan 

ay = ever, O.JS^. ciy = (ee)^ 

and others, in all of which the pronunciation that I aiii 
objecting to gives the vowel as (ai), though there is no (a) 
in the earlier form, as also there is no (a) at the present 
day, and has been none for at least three centuries. 

JSTow I am not going to affirm that the (ee) in these 
words could not become (ai) : I shall prove lower down 
that it could. But there is another remark to be made. 
The words with a radical (a) have undoubtedly undergone 
a change at some period — our plain from planus, maistre 
from magister, &c. — a change ^ from (ai) to (ee), or (ee), or 
{eei), probably by passing through some intermediate stage 
or stages, as (aa^'), (sese/), (ee^'), {eei), {ee). If, then, this 
change took place, as I contend, hefore Chaucer's time, 
there is no necessity for supposing any great change at any 
time in the other class of words, namely, those with a 
radical (e) — veyne, peyne, streit, obey, &c., as indeed our 
Grammarians know nothing of any such change. If, on the 
other hand, we imagine with Mr Ellis that the (a) words 
retained their (ai) till after Chaucer — it being admitted 
and indisputable that these two classes were sounded 
exactly alike in his day — we cannot escape the conclusion 
that the (e) words underwent with marvellous rapidity a 
double change : they changed their (ee), or {ee), or {eei) into 
(ai) only to resume their original form in a hundred years 
or so. For instance ; to take two words as representatives 
of two large classes : — pleyne from plenus was pronounced 
exactly like pleyne from planus in Chaucer's age : if the 
latter had already become (pleein), no further change need 
be imagined; if not, the former had to become (plain) 
only to go back to (pleein) by Palsgrave's time at latest ; 
how much more rapidly still one cannot conjecture. 

^ See above, p. 37 and note. 

* Illustrative of this change are the forms eaeine (11th century), 
ehaaine (12th), chaene, chaane, caenne, came (13th), ehayenne 
(15th), chalsyie (16th), now c^^zm^; yet the diminutive ehenette 
appears as early a^ the 13tb century. 


Surely no sane man can believe this. Spoken language 
does not, never did, and never will " play sucli fantastic 
tricks before higb beaven." 

But I sball be told that Palsgrave and Sir Thomas 
Smith more than three centuries ago, and our provincial 
dialects now, attest the sound of (ai) in at words. True 
to a certain extent ; but this (ai) or (sei), whether heard in 
London or in "West Somersetshire, is merely a corruption 
of (eei) or (eei), quite irrespective both of derivation and of 
spelling. The change has no regard to spelling. The Londoner 
who sounds (sei) will give it alike to rein and rain, to lain and 
lane, to veil, vail, and vale."^ And derivation is equally a 
matter of indifference. It is so in the examples just 
quoted, and in Mr Elworthy's lists. In these there are 
three words in which (ai) may, it is barely possible, be the 
original sound. handed down in unbroken tradition — aa*yd 
(aa^d), taa-yldur (taa^l•da), and haa'y (baa^), from aider, 
tailleur, and Span, hahia ; and some others have, accord- 
ing to my view, simply broadened out (ai) into (aa^), as 
humhaa'y (bembaar) for hy and hy, maa'y (maa^*) for my, 
smaayt (smaa^t) for smite, and three or four more; but 
among the rest may be found side by side the two different 
classes of words to which attention has just been called, 
those, namely, with (a) in the root and those with (e). With 
a radical (a) we have Maa'y m from clamo, Tiraa-y from 
raditts, plaa'yg from plaga, Maa'y from Maia, paa'yleen 
fiom. palus, vaa'yn from vanics ; but these show no symptom 
of a stronger attachment to the (aa) than vaa'yul from 
velum, saa'yul from segel, fraa'y from frigido, aa'ym from 
cestimo, liraa'yn from regn or from regno, vaa-yn from vena. 
The reasonable conclusion seems to be that all these words, 
having the same sound now, reached it from a common 
starting-point in {ee) or (eei). The change is then very 
simple, the different stages being {eei), (ee^), (8e8e^), (aa^'), 

* I remember being puzzled several years ago by a London boy 
who gave me his name as (Isein). I asked him whether he spelt 
it with i or y. Neither, he said, but (asi). After a while, but not 
without difificulty, I found out that the name was Lane. 


merely reversing the order of the process just now supposed 
in the case of planus and magister, 

10. IsTow this corruption had begun more than three 
hundred years ago. Out of Palsgrave's four examples of 
(ai) — rayne, fayne, payne, disdayne — the third ^ and fourth 
are from words which have no radical (a), so that the (ai) 
is an unquestionable corruption. And if we listen to Sir 
Thomas Smith we find— first indeed, which I may mention 
parenthetically, that he would mark only a "minima 
differentia" between ai and ei (see quotation, Ellis, p. 
120), which seems to mean that one was (sesei) and the 
other (eei), so that the corruption was not so strongly 
marked as among the "rustici" against whom he in- 
veighs, — and secondly that there was by no means a 
general agreement as to what words should be sounded 
with (sesei) and what with (eei). The very words which 
he would sound with (eei) — -fein, fingere, deinti, delicatus, 
peinfj pingere, feint, languidus — " others," he says, " sound 
and pronounce with (aeaei) : so undiscriminating are we 
English at any rate in the case of these two diphthongs. "^ 
Just so there were others who pronounced all the ai words 
with ei. Like difference of usage is clearly evidenced by 
Hart and GiFs want of agreement as to common words. 
JSTow will not differences of dialect throw some light on 
this difficulty? Gil was a Lincolnshire man. Sir Thomas 
Smith a native of the extreme north of Essex ; wha^ more 
natural than they should condemn as mincing affectation 
the iffx^oTTjv — Gil meant Iffxyonjra — of the London pro- 
nunciation. It was no doubt as Head Master of St Paul's 
Schoolthat he was liable to be pestered by the fine ladies 
who — " aliquoties ad me pippiunt, I pre ya g'i yar shalerz 
liv ta jple, pro I jprai you giv your skolarz lev tu plai ; " 
that is, (ei pree^ j-b gi j-bi sk-el-erz liiv t-e -pleei) for (ei prsesei 
ju giy Jui skoLarz leev tu plsese^'). But in the matter of 

* Palsgrave, however, elsewhere writes peyne, 
^ Alii sonant et pronuntiant per ai, tarn ddid(l>opoi sumus in his 
duntaxat duabus diphthongis Angli. 


pronunciation Londoii has beaten both Lincolnshire and 
north Essex through the powerful influence of court and 
parliament, of law-courts and schools, and the incessant 
locomotion of the population. We do not now say 
(k8e8embr^k) which Gil approved but (keeimbTik), not 
(ksesepn) but (keezp^n), not (butsherz meet) but (butshaz 
miit), not (mseseMz) but (meeidz), not (praeaez) and (pl8e8e^) 
but (pree^*) and (pl6e^), not (leev) or (leev) but (liiv). And, 
so far as can be ascertained, Chaucer was a Londoner, and 
I believe therefore that the very pronunciation which 
Smith and Gil condemned was that which Chaucer used, 
and which had been preserved in the tradition of London 
speech in good society to the 16th century, as it has 
been to the 19th. But Gil's specimen of London 
pronunciation just quoted contains one peculiarity, not 
sanctioned by good usage, and yet surviving and very 
common in metropolitan speech — (t-e ipleei) for (tu plee^). 
It shows incidentally what I have again and again insisted 
on — the tenacity of life of all forms of spoken language. 

11. It may be objected^ however, that some of these 
arguments on the digraph ai or ei, if they prove that the 
sound thus represented was an (e) sound, yet do not 
decide between the open (ee) and the close (ee). True, 
but it will be observed that if the e in there and tvJiere was 
the open (ee), the ai or ei must have represented a different 
sound, or we should find such rhymes as here feyre^ dene 
veyne, &c., which we have (I think) nowhere. Then 
again, Icelandic tradition with its (swe6^dn), &c., affords 
unmistakeable evidence of the close vowel. So does 
English tradition except where an r following has opened 
(ee) into (ee). In the West of England you may still hear 
(dhee.i) and (yees), but elsewhere these words have assumed 
the open (ee), (dheej) and (feei). Erench usage is divided, 
ai and ei usually being (ee), as in veine, aimer, sometimes 
(ee), as in saisir ; but Palsgrave's description of ei, "the i 
to be sounded shortly and confusely," and the spelling 
itself, can leave no doubt. For why should the written e 


assume a following i unless to indicate, as in Icelandic and 
in modern English, either the thinning off of the end of the 
sound into (i), or that the whole soimd was a vowel akin 
both to (e) and to (i), which imperfection of the alphabet 
afforded no better means of representing 1 
Briefly now to recapitulate. 

I. It has been endeavoured in this paper to show that 
here and the words that rhyme with it were probably 
sounded in Chaucer's time with the same vowel as in the 
present day; 1st, from prevalent English traditional pro- 
|iunciation; 2nd, by a perfectly independent argument 
from spelling, based on the analogy of sJieep, meeh, teeth, 
as compared with heap^ hreak, death ; 3rd, by an argument 
partly dependent on this last, the gist of which lies in an 
appeal to Sir Thomas Smith's assertion that the e in sheep 
was the e Anglicum, which also he expressly opposes to 
the e Italicum ; 4th, from the traditional pronunciation and 
orthography of hier and dier in all the Teutonic lan- 
guages ; and 5 th, by a Kke appeal to the traditional pro- 
nunciation and orthography of Erench words in -ier and 
"iere. And what is there to set against this mass of 
evidence from independent and widely different sources 
but the assumption that Sir Thomas Smith only betrayed 
his ignorance in his use of the term e Anglicum, and the 
wholly unproved surmise that a vast revolution had taken 
place in English spoken language during the two centuries 
that preceded him ? 

II. In order to show that i in Chaucer's time was 
diphthongal, possessing, or approaching, the sound that 
symbol still represents, 1st, the various English dialects 
have been cited as witnesses ; and 2nd, the Dutch and 
High German pronunciation of many of the same words, as 
in English, have the long ^; 3rd, the evidence has been 
adduced of grammarians and orthoepists both English and 
foreign, several of whom declare positively that our i in 
the 16th century was not the Italian ^, while others ex- 
pressly call it a diphthong ; and 4th, it has been shown 


that of the words now sounded with (ai) at least one of 
the most prominent was sounded with a diphthong in a 
kindred language some 2000 years ago or more. 

III. To show that ai and ei = (ee), appeal has been 
made to the evidence, 1st, of English tradition; 2nd^ of 
French tradition ; 3rd, of Icelandic tradition ; 4th, of 
French spelling in words like jamez for jamais; 5th, of 
one similar example from the English of Eob. Glouc. ; 
6th, of French rhymes such as retraire with manere ; 7th, 
of the grammarians; while 8th, various objections have 
been dealt with; 9th, etymology has been shown to be 
utterly opposed to the idea that ai = (ai) ; 10th, certain 
discrepancies in the statements of grammarians have been 
shown to arise in all probability from dialectic variety of 
pronunciation; and 11th, reasons have been assigned for 
believing not only that ai and ei represented an (e) sound, 
but that it was not the open (ee) but the close (ee) for 
which they stood. 

By the various arguments here adduced I hope to have 
proved, at least to some candid readers, that Chaucer did 
not sound the adverb here as (heer), but nearly or quite as 
we or our Dutch and German neighbours sound it at the 
present day. On this point, as on almost all his main 
conclusions, I still as firmly as ever believe Mr Ellis to be 
in error ; yet I am very far from idly dreaming that I have 
escaped from error myself. This, at any rate, I may very 
confidently affirm, that this paper is an honest contribution 
to the study of Early English Pronunciation, and if the 
view here maintained can indeed be demonstrated to be 
erroneous, at least this good result will be arrived at, .that 
tlie truth — ^for which alone honest men will contend — ^will 
be all the more satisfactorily settled on a secure and soHd 



fire [also fere], &c 

re-, en-quere [or -ire] 
swere, s. [or -ire] 


















































■ I 


L , 

stere, v. = steer 
















refere, v 







...1 -- 

— I — 



























































manere, &°c. 
































sere = O.N. s6r 






1 1 1 1 1 _. 


I TiTfil O 






...1 Tl II... 

... A\...\ 2 








































, :■» 

. <^* 












. ,, 






beer = tulit 








... ...1... 

... ii lii II. ..1 I 





' * 










ere, adv. .' 

f" ^^^ ' ' 




leere, *-^'- 

shere, v 











... --- 



hindere, z' 








1 1 1 1 1 ■ 1 
























- 1 








feere, i-, = timor 

far = far 










^^^ '■" 


1 1 












..' 1 





































s ■ 





























— " 


1 1 











. .-- 


















.. ...I...1...1...1...1...I...1... 

1 . . 1 . 1 ) .1 1 .1 1 


























■ ... 


I -■ 

2 -. f .- 











































... ...t 

... . 1 -. 

1 1 


1 1 



1 1 1 1 
















■ I 















... 6 






.. 1... 




... ...I...I 



































































■■■"■"" " 


. ...... 





...I--.I . 



'" ' 



































|.,.i .. 



1 .f .I...B 

tI 2 


1. 1 1 







.:. ...I::l:: 




. . ... 




. 1 














4. a. LOLLIUS. 


Appendix, Prof. Scherk's Date of the Canterbury Journey, englisht 
from Herrn Hertzberg's " Canterbury- GescTiichten^'^ 1866 ; 
with a note, showing why it's wrong, by Mr Skeat.* 

* Prof. Adams, the great Cambridge astronomer, has kindly promist to 
give us his opinion on the point. 



The following essay originally appeared in ^^ EngliscJie 
Studien,'" a periodical edited by Dr Eugen Kolbing of the 
University of Breslau, 1 bd. 2 heft, p. 249-93, Heilbronn, 1877. 
At Mr Furnivall's request I have englisht it, and his kind advice 
and assistance — for which I return him my best thanks — have 
enabled me to give the reader an intelligible translation. The 
present version of the essay is, however, rather a fi'ee adaptation 
from the former one, than a literal reproduction, several additions 
having been made to give the English student a peep into the 
Investigations of my countrymen concerning his great poet 
Chaucer. In other places I have altered my own words in order 
to strengthen the arguments, or I have omitted a sentence which 
I thought superfluous. I have also introduced a new title for the 
last two sections of the essay, which in the original are not separated 
from the preceding one. But the tenor of the whole paper has 
remained quite unchanged. 

My greatest reward for englishing this little work will be, 
to find that it has helpt in some degree to strengthen the good 
relations between the English and the German Chaucerian, by 
which alone our common work can thrive.' 

London, October,' 1877. Dr John Koch. 



Prof. Ten-Brink shows some fragments extant from an original 
Palamon and Arcite. — His researches continued by me : The 
description of the temple of Venus in the AssemMy of Foides 
appears to be an almost unmodified piece of the Palamon and 
Arcite. . The descriptive parts of the Knight's Tale, especially those 
of the temples of Mars and Diana, the Prayers and Speeches, are 
only modified from the Palamon and Arcite, which was in stanzas, 
for the sake of the new couplet verse. Chaucer himself inserted 
certain stanzas from the Teseida into his Tro'ilns and Cressida, 


From internal evidence the Parlament of Foiiles cannot be 
reckoned among Chaucer's earliest productions. It must have 
been composed after Tro'ilus and Cressida, about the year 1381. 
In this same year King Eichard II.'s embassy is sent to Germany to 
woo Anne of Bohemia. The personages alluded to in the poem 
are Princess Anne, King Eichard, and two German princes. 


Queen Anelida and the False Arcite seems 'ta have been 
composed before the Cantey'hiiry Tales. 

IV. a. ON Chaucer's use of "lollius," and non-use of 

Boccaccio's name. h. on chaucer and boccaccio's 


A new suggestion for Chaucer's having introduced the name 

of Lollius instead of Boccaccio's. — The influence of the Becamerone 

on Chaucer denied. 

Prof. Scherk's Date of the Canterbury Journey englisht from 
Herr Hertzberg's " Canterbury- Geschichteny 




One of tlie most interesting questions about diaucer's 
poetical works is undoubtedly, bow far be is indebted 
to Boccaccio, in bis use of tbat Italian poet's Teseida.^ 
for bis own KnigMs Tale, As tbe results of Prof. Ten- 
Brink's researcbes on tbis point are scarcely known to tbe 
Englisb Cbaucerian, and as tbis present essay starts 
wbere tbe learned autbor of tbe Cliaucer-Studien left off, 
I tbink it absolutely necessary to begin by giving a 
summary of tbe most striking passages of Prof. Ten-Brink's 
important work relating to tbis subject. 

After some polemical remarks against bis predecessors 
in tbis investigation, — Messrs. Tyrwbitt, Sandras, Ebert, 
Hertzberg, and Kissner, — Prof. Ten-Brink, instead of enter- 
ing into tbe general question, wbetber Cbaucer, before 
writing tbe KnigMs Tale, bad written anotber and closer 
translation of tbe Teseida, proposes tbis query {Btudien, 
p. 47) : " Had tbe original Palamon and Arcite (suppos- 
ing sucb a poem ever really existed) tbe same metrical 
form as tbe KnigMs- Tale 2^^ "If we can prove," be 
continues, " tbat parts of a closer imitation of Boccaccio 
are extant tban tbat in tbe Canterbury Tales, it will easily 
follow tbat tbe wbole poem to wbicb tbose parts belonged 
was originally written in tbe same style. Tbe favourite 
metre of Cbaucer, tbe 7-line stanza, would be tbe most, 
near to tbe Italian stanza, and tberefore in it Cbaucer 
would be most likely to write a more literal translation of 
tbe Teseida, if be wrote one at all." 


The fragment of Queue Anelida and the False Arcitey 
says Prof Ten-Brink, bears, as every Chancer student 
knows, a striking resemblance to the Knight's Tale, and 
chiefly in its opening lines. Here we find the same 
personages, Theseus, Hippolyta, Emilia, Creon, and 
Arcite, as in the KnigMs Tale, although in the latter, 
Arcite has quite opposite characteristics to those ascribed 
to his namesake in Queue Anelida and tlie False Arcite ; 
but after having introduced these folk to the reader, the 
poet leaves him in entire darkness about their fate, and 
their relations to the other story. So we must content 
-ourselves with the small remainder, and try to make the 
best we can of it. 

iN'ow, comparing the beginning of Queue Anelida'^ and 
the Teseida, we shall see that the first three stanzas of 
each correspond surprisingly with each other, if we only 
alter the succession a little, and put the 1st stanza of 
Queue Anelida to the 3rd stanza of the Teseida, and the 
3rd stanza of Queue Anelida to the 1st of the Teseida, 

Quene Anelida, st. 1 : Teseide I, st. 3 : 

O thou/«5rs Grod of armes^ Mars State presently o Marte ruhU 

the rede, condo. 

That in thy frosty contre called Nelle tue arme rigido e feroce, 

Within thy grisly temples f ul of E tu Madra d'Amor, &c. 

Honoured art as patroun of that E sostenete la mano e la iwce 

place ! 
With thee, Bellona, Pallas, full Di me, che intendo 1 vostri effetti 

of grace ! dire, &c. 

JBe present, and ony songe con- 

tynew and gvye ; 
At my Ijegynnyng thus I to the 


Quene Anelida, st. 2 : Teseide I, st. 2 : 

For hit ful depe is sonken in my Che m'e venuta voglia con 

mynde, pietosa 

With pitous hert, in Englyssh Rima di scriver una storia 

to endyte antica, 

Tliis aide storie, in Latyn which Tanto negli anni riposta e nas- 

Ifynde, cosa, 

' I leave out here and henceforth *• the False Arcyte," 


Of quene Analida and fals Arcite, Che latino autor non par ixe dica, 
That elde, which (that) al can Per quel ch'io senta, in libro 

frete and bite, alcuna cosa, &c» 

(As it hath freten mony a noble 

Hath nygh devoured out of our 


Quene Anelida, st. 3 : Teseide I, st. 1 : 

Be favorable eke thou Polymnya O Sorelle Castalie, che nel monte 
On Parnaso that with thy sustres Mlicona contente dimorate 

By Ely con i not fer from Cirrea, D'intorna al sacro gorgoneo 


Syngest with vols memorial in Sotesso Voinbra delle frondi 
the shade, ornate 

Under the laurer^ which that Da Felo^ delle quali ancor la 
may not fade, fronte 

And do that I my shippe to V spero ornarmi sol che'l con- 
haven Wynne : cediate, 

First folow I Stace, and after Gli santi orecchi a' miei prieghi 
him Corynne. porgete, 

E quegli udite come voi volete. 

From the fourth stanza, Chaucer follows Statius in Ms 
Thebais, XII, 519-22, but deviates from liim in the descrip- 
tion of Theseus's returning home after the victorious war 
against the Amazons. So he omits altogether the remainder 
of the first book of the Teseida, but then, in his 8th 
stanza, after having extended the short " Fra tanto " of the 
10th stanza in the II. book of the Teseida into a whole 
stanza, the 7th,^ Chaucer again takes up the Italian original 
with an almost Hteral reproduction : 

Quene Anelida, st. 8 : Teseide II, st. 10 : 

Mars, whiche that thro his Fra tanto Marte i popoli lernei 

furious [e] course of ire 

The olde wrethe of Juno to f ul- Con f urioso corso avea commossi 


Hath [had] set the peples hertis Sopra i Tebani, e miseri trofei 

bothe on fire 

With his tryumphe / and laurer corovned thus, 

In al the floure / of fortunes yevyng, 

let I this noble prince / Theseus, 

towarde Athenes / in his wey ryding, 

and founde I wol / in shortly for to bringe, 

the sley wey / of that I gan to write, 

of quene Anelida / and fals Arcite 


Donati avea de' Principi percossi 

Of Thebes and Grece, [and] 

everiche other to kille 
With blody speres, restede never 

Bat throng now her, now ther, 

amonge them bothe, 
That everyohe other slough, so 

were they wrothe. 


ffor when , Avi^hiorax / and 

Ijpomedon / Partinope also 

We?* ded, and slat/n J proude 

and when .the wrecches / thebans 

bretheren two 
Were slayn / and kyng Adrastus 

home ago, 
so desolat - stode thebes and so 

that ho wight coude / remedie 

of his care. 

Piu volte gia, e de' greci plebei 

Eitenuti tal volta, e tal riscossi 

Con asta sanguinosa iieramente 

Trista avea fatta I'una e I'altra 

Teseide II, st. 11 : 
Percib che dopo Anfiaraoy Tldeo 

Stato era ucciso, eH buoh 

IE simihnente il bel Partenojyeo^ 

E piu Telun, de' qua' non fo 

Dlnanzi e dopo al fiero Capaneo-, 

E dietro a tutti in doloroso 

Eteocle e Polinice^ ed ispedito 

II solo Adrasto ad Argo era 

After this there can be no doiibt that Chaucer not 

only knew, but even translated, Boccaccio's poem wben he 

composed his Queue Anelida, Now, supposing this 

poem to be one of Chaucer's early productions, it would 

be very strange if he had abruptly given up a work begun 

in such a pompous style. (That he never finished this 

poem, we , know from the well known list of Lydgate (cf. 

Aldine edition I, 80), in which he mentions Anelida and 

Arcite only under the title of a " Complaynte," a name 

that he would never have applied to a finished epic poem.) 

And still stranger must it appear to us that a mere 

fragment should have survived more finisht productions, 

like \h.Q Prigines upon the Maudelayne,^ a first edition of 

Palamon and Arcite, and the Boke of the Lojon^ which are 

entirely lost to us. Finally Lydgate, who has apparently 

much less knowledge of Chaucer's first-period woi-ks than 

* One of Chaucer's very earliest bits of work, I believe. — F. J. F. 


his later ones, does not quote Pdlamon and Arcite and 
The Lyfe of seynt Cecile as independent works, a fact 
•whicli can only be explained by admitting that he never 
knew them in their original shape. It would he still more 
remarkable had Lydgate mentioned a fragment of still 
earlier date. The most natural way of reconciling all these 
contradictions with each other, therefore, is, to admit that 
Chaucer did not write Queue Anelida before his later age. 

But while adopting this explanation, we must avow that 
a comparison between the opening stanzas of Queue 
Anelida and the first lines of the Knight^ s Tale gives rise to 
the impression that the former is the closer imitation of 
the original. This chiefly appears in those lines of the 
KnigMs Tale (167 — 170, ed. Morris) which correspond with 
the 7th stanza of Queue Anelida, In the former poem 
those lines only say in a careless way that the author does 
not intend to give any details of Theseus's triumphal 
march ; in the latter, they are indispensable as a transition 
from the introduction to the story itself. Hence follows 
that the seventh stanza, and consequently all the intro- 
ductory part of Queue Anelida, are an older production 
than the beginning of the KnigMs Tale, "But if the 
poem of Queue Anelida is of a more recent date than 
Palamon and Arcite — the opening of the fragment, however, 
having been written before the opening of the KnigMs 
Tale, — it follows that the beginning of the original Palamon 
and Arcite must have been quite different from the 
present version, and surely must have been like the 
beginning of Queue Anelida. In a word, in the opening 
stanzas of Queue Anelida we possess a slightly modified 
fragment of the first edition of Palamon and Arcite^ 

These latter sentences, being the most important part 
of Prof. Ten-Brink's clever researches, I have reproduced 
them in a closer translation. For the present, I omit his 
next passage, because my own opinion on the subject differs 
in some points from his ; but of this I shall speak directly. 


To continue my account of his dissertation, I remark that 
in the pages following (57, etc.) he tries to restore the 
original reading in those lines of the above-mentioned 
introductory stanzas which have undergone some change 
in order to fit them for the new cast of the story. So he 
proposes, instead of reading : 

Of quene Anelida and f als Arcite 
to insert the following line : 

Of Palamon and his felawe Arcite, etc. 
Whether his conjectures always hit the mark, he doubts 
himself; but no matter: at least we learn that the 
alterations required are too insignificant to throw doubt on 
the result of his researches. , 

Besides the passage in Quene Anelida, continues Prof. 
Ten-Brink on p. 58, we have another remnant of the 
original Palamon and Arcite; there is another piece 
extant which must have formerly belonged to this poem. 
It is the passage in Troylus and Cryseyde^ b. Y, sts. 260 — 
262, already pointed out by Tyrwhitt, in which Chaucer has 
inserted the first three stanzas of the xi*^ canto of the Teseide, 
originally containing the famous description of Arcite's 
soul going to heaven. It is very easily shown, says the 
author of the ^^ Bbudien^^ that these stanzas were not at 
first meant f5r the place in which they are now ; and that 
consequently they must have once formed a part of the 
former edition of Palamon and Arcite, But as I have 
some words myself to say on this point below, I leave 
an exacter investigation into it for the present. 

The result which we get from Prof. Ten-Brink's 
" Cliaucer-Studien^^ is, in plain words, this : Chaucer, before 
composing the KnigMs Tale, Quene Anelida, and Trdilus 
and Cryseyde, had written a closer imitation of Boccaccio's 
Teseida production, in sevea-line stanzas. The remains of 
this (his Palamon and Arcite) are the opening stanzas of 
Quene Anelida, and those on the hero's soul rising to heaven, 
in tha Troilus (Y, 150-2 j ed. Morris, vol. v, p. 75-6). 

XII. DR J. B;0CH. the knight's tale J AND THE TESEIDE, 3^65 

l!^ow my first question is : Avd no more parts of the 
old Pdlamon and Arcite existing? I think I can point 
out some passages of the KnigMs Tale and the Farlament 
of Foules, which are partly modified, partly original frag- 
ments of that poem. 

Mr Henry Ward, in his marginal notes to the KnigMs 
Tale in the Six-Text Print of the Tales for this Society, 
marks a number of lines as being a closer translation from 
the Teseida. ITow, following these ticks, we shall find 
that the passages thus markt, in almost every case, contain 
descriptions, speeches, or prayers. Passing over some 
smaller likenesses, we come to the first extensive borrowing 
from Boccaccio, in lines 1028 — 1035 (according to Mr 
Morris's edition) of the KnigMs Tale^ corresponding with 
VII, 108 — 110 in the Teseida, They contain a description 
of the theatre in which the tournament between Palamon 
and Arcite is to take place ; and although they cannot be 
called a translation, we find in them all the chief 
characteristics of the original. Compare 

Chaucer, 1028. Teseide VII, 108. 

The circuite ther was a myle Poco era fuor della terra nel lito 

aboute, II teatro ritondo, che girava 

Walled of stoon. Un miglio, 

Bound was the schap, in maner Di marmo un muro ritondo si 

of compass, levava 

Ful of degre, — — 

That whan a man was set in o ed aveva dUe entrate 

degre Con f orti porte assai ben lavorate. 
Se lettede nought Msfelawfor 

to se. 309. 

Estward ther stood a gate of Delia quali una verso il sol 

marbul whit, nascente 

Westward such another in op- Sopra colonne grandi era voltata, 

posit etc. etc. IJaltra mirava 'cerso Voccidente 

col mezzo aveva quasi un tondo 
a sesta 

Nel quale scalee in cerchio si 

Con gradi largbi di petrina mire» 


Sopra de'quali le gentl sedieno 
A rimirare gli areiianti siri ; 
Ed altri che faccssono alcun 

Sanza impedir Vwrk_ Valtro in 

nessim loco. 

Tlie next passage of importance is the description of 
the temples built by Theseus on the tournament-field. But 
before entering into particulars, I think it necessary to 
remind the reader of Chaucer's deviations from the Teseida 
which Tyrwhitt has already pointed out in his "Introductory 
Discourse." Boccaccio begins his 7th book with a speech 
of Theseus, in which he declares the laws of the combat. 
" The day before the combat,'^ Tyrwhitt continues, " Arcita, 
after having visited the temples of all the gods, makes a 
formal prayer to Mars. The Prayer, being personified, is 
said to go and find Mars in his temple in Thrace, which is 
described ; and Mars, upon understanding the message, 
causes favourable signs to be given to Arcita. In the 
same manner Palemone closes his religious observances 
with a prayer to Yenus. His Prayer, leing also personified, 
sets out for the temple of Yenus on Mount Citherone, 
which is also described, and the petition is granted. 
Then the sacrifice of Emilia to Diana is described; her 
prayer '' , . . In the words following, Tyrwhitt does not give 
an exact account of the poem, for it is not, as he says, 
the " appearance of the goddess," but that of the attendants 
of Diana (^7 coro di Diana) that is spoken of by 

But now for Chaucer. He describes how the tilt-yard 
is arranged : three temples are built there, the one with 
certain pictures and, ornaments is devoted to Yenus; the 
other is consecrated to Mars (it is an imitation of the 
famous temple in Thrace, the god's favourite dwelling) ; 
the third, destined for the worship of Diana, is Chaucer's 
own invention. Then follows the solemn entrance of the 
heroes into Thebes (in which our poet, however, shortens 
considerably the pompous description of Boccaccio, written 

XII. DR J. KOCH. Chaucer's parlament, and the tmseide, 367 

to display his mytliolo'gical knowledge, Tes., b. YI.). 
Then, in the succession of the prayers, Chaucer makes an 
alteration in the different hoars devoted to the different 
gods : Pirst, Palamon goes to the temple to perform his 
religious rites ; after him Emilia ; and finally Arcite. But 
these prayers are not personified, because Chaucer has 
already described in another form the decorations of the 
temples, on which he seems to lay chief stress. 

After this introduction I ought to compare the 
description of the temple of Yenus in the Knight's Tale 
with that in the Teseida. But, as every' Chaucer student 
knows, our poet has here only very loosely imitated 
the Italian poem, whilst we meet with a much closer 
translation of the same passage in The Parlament of Foules, 
When and why he may have made this insertion I shall 
discuss below. For the present, however, as I am chiefly 
interested in investigating how far Chaucer has closely 
followed Boccaccio, it does not matter to which poem the 
above passage belongs ; and so I quite pass over these lines 
in the Knighfs Tale, and call the reader's attention to the 
description of Yenus's temple in the Parlament of Joules, 
1. 183, etc. Although an exact examination of this passage 
would be highly interesting, I think it will suffice to 
remind the reader that Mr Eossetti, in Mr Furnivall's 
Trial-Foreioords, p. 60, etc., has settled this point by 
setting side by side Chaucer's and Boccaccio's stanzas, the 
latter in an English version. But Mr Eossetti omits a very 
important circumstance, viz. the wonderful coincidence of 
several words of Eomance origin in Chaucer's lines with 
words of the same sort in the corresponding places of .th^ 
Teseida. Thus we find 

P. of F. 1. 1^3 : The lytel conyes Tes. VTI, st. 52 : Vide conigli in 

to her pley gunnen-hye. . qua e in la andare. 

P. of F. 197 : On instrnmentes Tes. i&. st. 53 : Similimente qui vi 

for strynges in acorde. ogiii stromento, 

P. of F. 214: And welle hys Tes. i&. st. 54 : Le qua' sua figlia 

doghtre tempved^ al the while, Voluttade elette 

368 XII. DR J. KOCH. Chaucer's parlament, and the teseide. 

The jheddes in the welle. Nell' onde temperava. 

P. of F. 219 : Curtesye. Tes. ih. st. 55 : Cortesia, 

Pari, of F. 221, etc. : Tes. st. 55 : 

— hath the myght hanno potestate 

To doo le force a wyght to do Di fare altrui a forza far follia 

Disfigured was ske, I shal not Nel loro aspetto molto isfigtirate 

lye : 

And by hym selfe, under an oka Delia immagine nostra ; il van 

I gesse Biletto 

Sawgh I Belyte, that stoode with Con gentilezza vide star soletto 

P. of F. 227 : Fool-hardynesse. Tes. ih. st. 56 : il folle Ardire. 
P. of F. 231 : I sawgh a temple. Tes. ih. 57 : Di rame vide un 

Pari, of F. 239, etc. Tes. ih, 58 : 

Before the temple dore, ful E all' entrata del tcmpio vicina 

soberly Vide che si sedeva pianamente- 

Dame Pes sate, a curtyne in hir Monna Pace, la quale una cor- 

hande ; tina 

And hir beside, wonder ^i5cr^^?;y, Movea innanzi alia porta lieve- 
Dame Pacience sittynge ther I inente : 

fonde, Appresso a lei, in vista assai 
With face pale^ upon an hille of tapina 

sonde ; Pacienza sedea discrefamente 

And alder next, within and eke Pallida neir aspetto, e d'ogni 

withoute part[i] ^ 

Behest and Arte, etc. Intorno a lei vide Promesse [et 


Pari, of F. 249 : Tes. ih. 69 : 

engendered with desire Focoso tutto di caldi desiri : 

That maden every auter for to Questi gli altari tutti allumi- 

brenne nava 

Of newe flawme. Di nuo'oe jiamme, etc. 

P. of F. 259 : Garlondes f ulle of Tes. ih. 60 : Di Jior diversi assai 

f resshe flour es newe. vide grillandi. 

P. of F. 261 : porter Rychesse. Tes. ih. 67 : Trovo Riccliezza la 

porta guardare. 

P. of F. 238 : untressed, Tes. ih. %Q : senza treccia alcuna. 

The exact imitation of Chaucer closes with the 66th stanza 
of the Teseida, for in his 277th line he says : 

And, as I seide, amyddes lay Cupide 

which quite contradicts line 211, etc. : 

Under a tree, besyde a welle, I say 
Cupide our lorde hys arwes forge and fylle ; 

* For the readings in brackets see the note in my essay in 
" Englisclie Studierif^ p. 253, etc. 


this being a translation of Boccaccio's st. 54 : 

Tra gli albuscelli ad una fonte allato 
Vide Cupido a fabbricar saette, etc. 

Besides tins instance, it may be observed that our poet in 
the following lines only reproduces the names that are 
found in the 61st and 62nd stanzas of the Teseida^ 
omitting, however, all the details of his model. (Trial- 
Forewords, p. Q^-^,) 

We now go back to the description of the temple of 
Mars in the KnigMs Tale (1. 1112, etc.), corresponding 
with Teseida Vlly 30, .etc. The beginning agrees very 
well with the original; and here also we find the same 
Bomance roots in both the versions, as for instance : 
Kn. T. 1. 1124 : Marz army- Tes. VII, 32 : Dio Armipotente, 

Kn. T. 1124-26 : Of which th' Tes. %b. Tutto di ferro era la 

entre stretta entrata. 

Was long and streyt. 

Kn. T. 1132 : The dores wer alle Tes. ib, : E le porte eran d'eterno 

ademauntz eterne, 

Kn. T. 1135: Every piler the Tes. 33: E le colonne di ferro 

tempul to susteene, costei 

Vide, che quel dificio sostenieno, 

Kn. T. 1139 : The cruel irey as Tes. id, : Videvi TJ^^e rosse, come 

rede as any gleede f uoco 
and eek the pale drede. E le Paure pallide in quel loco. 

With 1. 1147 Chaucer sets out for a walk by himself, no 
longer accompanied by Boccaccio, though now aiid then 
casting back a glance at him. So our comparison as to 
Venus's temple must here cease. 

The description of the temple of Diana having, as I 
have already said, no parallel in the Teseida, we need not 
dwell upon it. But before proceeding with our comparison 
as to the other temples, let us stop a moment and see what 
conclusions we may draw from the above quotations and 

The description of the temple of Mars bears so much 
the character of a passage remodelled from some other work, 
that the idea of its being a part of the old Palamon and. 


Arcite, modified for the sake of a new metre, naturally 

occurs to us. 

For, firstly, the beginning nndonhtedly shows a certain 

want of perspicuity. Chaucer says : '^ JNTow I will tell you 

what decorations, were in the temple of Mars, that was 

erected in the lists. Everything there, was an imitation of 

the frightful temple of the god which rises in the icy fields 

of Thrace. First there was painted on the wall a gloomy 

forest ; and in this forest was that Thracian temple made 

of polisht steel and furnisht with gates made of diamond. 

First there appeared Treason, then cruel Ire, etc." But of 

which temple is he now speaking 1 Of the original, or of 

Theseus's imitation*? There is no certain conclusion to 

be drawn from the words of the poet; undoubtedly a 

transition is wanting, perhaps in this sense : *^ There were 

in the building of Theseus the following paintings : Treason, 

cruel Ire, etc." Or did Chaucer invest his readers with 

the faculty- of seeing a building from the inside and the 

outside at the same time ? It is quite another thing with 

Boccaccio, who only speaks of the original temples, and 

does not introduce imitated ones at all. Further, there is 

some confusion in the words of this passage, which most 

likely is less the fault of the scribes than that of Chaucer's 

own manuscript. I allude to line 1159, with its famous 

'^shippis hoppesteres," which still remain a riddle to 

etymologists. The same may be said of line 1167, to 

which none of the printed manuscripts seems to assign its 

proper meaning. T3n?whitt's conjecture seems most 

probable : " Th'armourer and the bowier and the smy th," 

which reading Hertzberg has also adopted. Finally, there 

is a strange absurdity in line 1147, Avhich, so far as I know, 

has till now escaped the research of other critics. Chaucer 

eays, 1. 1 : 

'' The sleer of himself yet saugh I there, 
His herte-blood hath bathed al his here, 
The nayl y-dryve in the schode a nyght." 

But how is it possible that any one could commit suicide 


by hammering a nail througli liis own brain *? Morris, wko 
seems to have felt this nonsense, puts a semicolon after 
line 1148; but by doing so the next line becomes 
untenable ; for a nail driven into a skull can scarcely be 
supposed to be the object of an independent picture.^ A 
few lines from the Prologue of the Wife of Bath here 
occur to me. She says, line 765, etc. : 

" Of latter date, of wyves hath he (sc. clerk Jenkyn) red, ' 
That some han slayn her husbondes in her bed, 
And som han dry v en nayles in her hrayn, 
Whiles thay sleepe, and thus they han them slayn^ 

liTow i suppose that Chaucer intended to produce in the 
KnigJifs Tale a. similar picture, which indeed would have 
very w^ell suited the whole of this description.^ So we 
may admit here some other expression instead of the 
offensive " sleer of himself," as for instance : 

** The sleer of her husbonde ^ saugh I there ! 
His herte blood," etc. 

like 1. 1148 in the KnigMs Tale. The suicide may have 
been described in some other verse, now lost to us. 

But there is another circumstance which strengthens 
me in the opinion that we here have before us a passage 
only superficially modified from the old Palamon and 
Arcite, For it is most strange that the Knight, ii^ 
describing the above-mentioned buildings, speaks in the first 
person, as if he had himself seen these buildings. So 1. 
1137: "Ther saugh I first;" 1147: '' Yet saugh I there ; " 
1153: "Yet I saugh;" 1159: "Yet saugh I;" 1170: 
" Saw I." This would not surprise us if the poet had 
represented himself as telling us the story ; but, as a matter 
of fact, the Knight is supposed to relate the whole to his 
fellow-pilgrims. To explain this mode of expression by 

^ It can hardly be justified by Metonymy, the deed, or instru- 
ment, for the doing and doers. 

^ I do not forget the earlier line referring to the BanaidaB : 
" The treasoun of the murtheryng in the bed." 

^ Mr Furnivall's correction of my conjecture in the ^^ Engl. 
Btudien,^^ p. 259. 



assuming that the narrator is carried away by some higher 
impulse — so that he speaks in a kind of frenzy, as if he him- 
self had seen all that glorious scenery — is scarcely allowable.^ 
For in other passages — which give more scope for the display 
.of a warrior's enthusiasm — as, for instance, that describing 
the tournament^ our poet never drops the ordinary tone 
of story telling. In the description of Diana's temple we 
find the same peculiarity, the same "Ther saw I," etc., 
employed several times ; so 11. 1198, 1204, 1207, 1215, etc., 
but not once in the description of the temple of Yenus, 
where Chaucer stands in a different relation to his original. 
As we have seen before, he has here inserted a fiction of 
his own, only now and then reverting to his model. A 
closer imitation of this passage was no longer at his free 
disposal, since he had already made use of a more literal 
■translation in his Farlament of Foules. 

Looking again at this latter description, we again find 
\{Parl 11. 183, 224, 225, 231, 253., Btc.) the same queer 
*" I saw." Here, indeed, the narrat>ion in the first person 
lis justified by the fact that the poet is describing a dream 
■of his own.; but overlooking this fact for a moment, we 
.shall see the three descriptions, viz., those of the temples 
<of Mars and of Diana in the KnigMs Tale, and that of 
the temple of Yenus in the Farlament, brought into a 
certain connection by the above-mentioned use of the first 
person. J^ow comparing the lines of the latter, in which 
this expression occurs, with the corresponding lines of the 
Teseida, we shall notice that " I saw," etc., nearly always 
seems balanced by a corresponding " vide," etc. ; thus 1. 
183 : "A gardyn sawh I" = YII. 51, ''vide quello;" 1. 
190 : "the briddes lierde I synge" = iK, 52 ; '' senti . . . 
. . ucce' cantare;" 197: " Herde I so pley" = iK 53: 
"le parve udire:" 211: "I say Cupide" = ih. 54: 

^ This difficulty is lessend by shifting the " I see " to the old 
Palmioti anA Arcite, because Chaucer was not, in that, making 
a Knight speak. 


** Yide Cupido ; Thoo was I war " = ih, 55 : " E poi 
vide,^^ etc., etc. 

Cliaucer, therefore, seems to translate very exactly his 
original's 3rd pers. sing, praet. by the 1st person of the 
same tense. The question remains whether he made this 
alteration when he had resolved to insert this piece into 
the Pai'lament of Foules, or whether it was in the old 
Palamon and Arcite. Comparing this passage with the 
other descriptions, ifc seems very likely that he had already 
made this change in his early version of the story. 

But it may be objected that the Temple of Diana is 
an invention of Chaucer's own, and has no relation what- 
ever to Boccaccio. Quite so : yet it is not improbable that 
he had already inserted this invention in his first edition, in 
order to make a better and more symmetrical arrangement 
of his tale. I believe, therefore, that this objection is too 
weak to overthrow my conchisions. And as this " I saw/' 
so inconsistent with the present character of the Tale, is 
still to be met with in the recast of the poem, we may 
suppose that it was before^ originally, in its first version. 
But there still remains an important question : is there 
any visible reason why Chaucer might have changed the 
Italian 3rd person, " vide^ sentl^' etc., into the first person % 
To answer this, I can only propose some hypotheses. The 
most likely one, methinks, is as follows : — Boccaccio, as we 
have seen before, personifies the prayers, and then narrates 
how they visited the dwellings of the Gods, and what 
they saw there. This far-fetched mode of representation 
did not agree with the more realistic taste of Chaucer, and 
he had already altered it in his original Palamon and 
Arcite to something like that of the present version, i. e. 
he had described the temples as if he had seen them himself, 
and had thus the right to assume the first person. It may 
be observed at the same time that Chaucer often employs 
this mode of- speaking in all his poems where he relates a 
dream or vision. 

374 XII. ohauoer's palamon and arcite, and parlament,. 

But if we admit — as I think we are obliged to do 
after tlie above researches — that the opening lines of the 
description of the temple of Mars in the KnigMs Tale is a 
modification, in the new metre, of Chaucer's original 
version, we must also admit that the descriptions of the 
temples of Yenus and Diana bear the same character. The 
former is retained in its old shape, the latter re-moulded 
into the heroic verse. 

This assertion brings me into opposition with Prof. Ten- 
Brink's opinion, which he thus expresses on p. 128 of his 
* Studien.'' " The stanzas imitated from the Teseida snit so 
closely and harmoniously the whole of the composition of 
the Parlament of FouleSj that a later insertion is not to be 
thought of." It is not unlikely that the learned author 
of the above-mentioned work was partly led to , this 
opinion by Chaucer's speaking here in the first person. 
But, as we have before seen, it is not at all impossible 
that this mode of expression was already to be found in 
the first Palamon and Arcite ; and there is no need to 
suppose this passage underwent any special changes in 
order to fit it for insertion in the Parlament of Foules, 
For, without altering the metre, the literal translation of 
vide, sentl = " She saw, she heard," might be turned into 
" I saw, I heard," etc. And except this expression, there 
is not one word, not one line, which would hot be in its 
right place in the original Palamon and Arcite, as well as 
in the Parlament of Foules, I admit, very willingly, that 
the whole of this Temple-description fits so wonderfully 
into the Parlament that it would be hard to find out the 
joins. But what is the reason? The nature of this passage 
is just such as to fit it, without any change, for any poem 
treating of dreams and visions. Moreover, Chaucer's real 
deviations in it from his original, are quite of the same 
style as those in all his other poems,^ — a few additLans, a 
few diminutions, some refinements, some coarsenesses j just 
as he likes, or as his metre requires. 

ir. Chaucer's parlament, and boccaccio's TJEfif:^/!)^. 375 

But there is another bit of evidence for my assertion ; 
another fact which has till now escaped discovery; and 
this is, that the 26th stanza of the Parlament, 11. 176 — 
182, is taken from the Teseida. In the eleventh book, 
where the preparations for the funeral are described, 
Boccaccio enumerates the trees which are used for the 
pyre. He has translated this passage almost literally from 
Statins {Thebais, VI. 98, etc.). But Chaucer only follows 
the Italian poet in general features, though distinctly 
enough to shew whence he took his idea. Let the reader 
judge for himself : 

Parlament of Foules, 176—182. Teseide XI. 22. 

The hylder ohe^ and eke the — ed il cerro con esso. 

hardy asshe. lb. 23. 

The piler el me, the cofre unto E gli orni pi en di pece, nutri- 

eareyne, menti 

The hook pipe tree^ holme to D'ogni gran fiamma, e gli lecci 

whippes lasshe, soprani 

El tasso 

The saylynge firre, the cipresse Ih. 24. 

deth to pleyne, Tagllato fuvyi ancor I'audace 

The sheter ewe, the aspe for abete 

shaftes pleyne, E'l^m similemente 

The olyve of pes, and eke the e d'ogni rincitoi^e 

drunken vyne, Premio la palma fu tagliato 

The victor jpahiie^ the lauere, to, ancora, 

devyne. E I'olmo che di viti s'innamora. 

The attributes Chaucer gives to the Trees, have indeed 
very little in common with those of the Teseida, but from 
it he evidently took his idea; besides, the succession of 
the tree-names is quite the same ; and notably in the last 
line, " victor palme " agrees very well with " d'ogni 
vincitore premio la ])almaP ^o expression Hke this 
occurs in Statins, nor any in the beginning for * cerro = 
oke,' so that there is no probability in the assuniption that 
Chaucer borrowed this passage directly from the Thebais, 
Further, we must not leave unnoticed that Chaucer was 
here compelled to make some alterations : first, because 
the circumstance that the trees were felled had to be 
omitted ; secondly, because a reproduction of three stanzas 

376 XII. Chaucer's original palamon and arcite. 

containing a description of inferior importance would 
have been ratlier too much for a poem of the size of the 
Parlament of Foules. At the corresponding place in the 
KnigMs Tale, 1. 2061, etc., Chaucer passes over this 
description very quicklj : 

" How they (i. e. the trees) weren felde, shal nought be told for me," 
which words perhaps hint at his having translated this 
passage more exactly in some earlier poem, viz., in the 

The above stanza, then, is not to be considered as part 
of the original Palamon and Arcite, but, since it belongs 
to the last section of the Teseida, it shows that Chaucer had 
already finished the reproduction of the Italian poem when 
he lifted this piece and the description of the temple of 
Yenus into the Parlament of Foules, And he must have 
done this after he had resolved to reject the original 
Palamon and Arcite. But for all particulars about this 
question, I must refer to my researches below. My 
present result is, that I claim the same right for the 
passage from 11. 183 — 276 (about) of the Parlament of 
Foules (from Tes. YIT. 51 — %^) to be a remainder of the 
first cast of Palamon and Arcite, as Prof. Ten-Brink will 
only allow to the above-mentioned stanzas at the beginning 
of Quene Anelida, and near the close of Troilus and 
Gryseyde (p. 360-4, above). 

After this digression, I return to my comparison 
between the Teseida and the KnigMs Tale, The next 
section in which Chaucer exactly follows his original is 
the Prayer of Palamon. I shall here insert its most 
striking passages, in order to illustrate how our poet makes 
use of his model. 

Knight's Tale, 1. 1363, &c. Teseide VII. 43 : 
Fairest of faire, o lady myn ■ 

Venus, O bella Iddea, del gran Vul- 
Doughter of love, and spouse to cano sposa 

Vulcanns, Per cui s'allegra 11 monte Oiter- 
Thou glader of the mount of one, 



For thilke love, tliou haddest to [^ITumil] ti prego che [a me] 

Adeoun si a piatosa 

Have pite on my bitter teeres Per quell' amor che portasti ad 

smerte, Adone 

And tak myii humhle prayer to E la mia voglia ch'e per te 

thin herte. amorosa, 

Contenta etc» 

1369 : 45 : 

Alias I I ne have no langage for To non poria con parole Veffetto 

to telle 

Th^effectes ne the tormentz of Del mio dolor mostrar quant' io 

myn helle lo sen to, 

Tu sola lo conosci, ed al difetto 
, Tu poi lieto donar contentamento 

1373 : ^ 

But mercy, lady bright, thou 

knowest wel 
My thought, and felest what 

harm that I fel, 
Consider al this, and rew upon 

my sore. 

1380 : 46 : 

I kepe not of amies for to yelpe, lo non ti chieggio in arme aver 

Ne nat I aske to morn to have vett07"ia, 

vietorie, Par li tempj di Marte d'armi 

Ne renoun in this caas, ne veyne ornare, 

glorie In non ti chieggio di portarne 

Of pris of armes, blowyng up gloria 

and doun, Di que' doman, contra gli qua' 

But I wolde have ful possessioun provare 

Of Emelye Mi converra, ne cerco che 

Lontana duri del mio adoperare, 
lo cerco Emilia sola, etc. 

1386 : 47 : 

Fj^nd thou the maner how, and II modo trova tu, ch'io non mi 

in what wyse. euro, 

I recche nat, but it may better be, O che sia vinto, o che sia vinci- 

To have victorie of him, or he tore : 

of me, Mi e poco caro, se non son sicuro 

So that I have my lady in myn Di possedere il disio del mio core. 


1323 : 48 : 

Thy tem;ple wol I worshipe Grli tem;pj tuoi saranno sempre 

evermo, orati 

And on thin auter, wher I ryde Da me • 

or go, 

I wol do sacrifice^ andfyres be„ete. Ed ogni tuo altar faro lucente 

Di fuoco, e sacrifixj fien donati 


1396: 49: 

And if ye wol nat so, mj lady E se t'e grave cio ch'io ti di- 

sweete, mando. 

Than pray I the, to morwe with Deh, fa che nel teatro qualche 

a spare spada 

That Aroita me thurgh the herte Tosto mi fenda, o pur 11 ;Cor 

here. forando, 

Than rekke I liat, whan I have Costringa che lo spirto f uor sen 
lost my lyf, vada 

Though that Arcite have hir to 

his wyf. Che non farehbe sanza lei la vita, 

Veggendola, non mia, esser 

In tlie lines following (1417 — 1500), Chancer has 
decidedly shortened his original in the description of 
Emilia's prayer (Teseida, YIL, 71 — 92). Thns he omits 
the incident that Emilia suddenly sees both the fires 
lighted (Tes., st. 77). Further, he omits her request to 
the goddess to send her a tok&n. from which she might 
judge whether her prayer is granted, and represents this 
sign as happening unexpectedly. All these deviations are, 
in my opinion, based on Chaucer's intention to condense 
the profuse descriptions of the Teseida. It is also to be 
noticed that Chaucer transfers Emilia's apostrophe to the 
goddess (Tes. st. 80) to the end of the prayer, which I think 
a more skilful arrangement. Then he speaks of the sign ; 
and after this, makes Diana appear to the praying virgin, 
whilst Boccaccio relates these facts in a different order, and 
introduces the " coro infaretrato " instead of the apparition 
of the goddess herself. But notwithstanding all these 
variations, our poet here follows his original more briefly 
than he generally does ; and I again call the attention of 
the reader to the fact that words of Eomance origin in both 
authors often correspond with one another :— .. . . 

Knight's Tale, 1. 1417 : Teseide XX, &o. 71 : 

Hir may dens, that sche with hir E le servente sue tutte chiamate 

thider ladde, Con corni pien d'offerte ragunare 

Ful redily with hem the fyr they Le fe' davanfci a se, e disse : 

hadde, Andate, 

Thencensy the clothes and the Fate i tempj di Diana mondare 
remenant al 

That to the sacrifice longen schal ; E li degni licori p-pparecchiate., 


The homes ful of meth, as is the E I'altre cose da sagrijicarc. 

gyse ; 
Ther lakketh nought to do here ■ 



Smoky ng the temple^ ful of Fu mondo il tempio, e di be' 

clothes faire. drappi ornato 
This Emelye with herte de- 


Hir body wessch with watir of a E poi, in loco a poche manifesto, 

welle ; 

But how sche dide I ne dar nat Di nobili licori il dilicato 


1431 : 

Hir brighte her was kempt, un- E i biondi crini da' veli isco- 

tressed al ; prissi. 


A corone of a grene ok cerial E corono di querela cereale, 

Upon hir heed was set ful fair 

and meete. e'l suo. capo altretale 

Two fyres on the auter gan she 

beete. Sopra Valtare molto riverente 
Due roghe fece di simil gross- 

1437 : 76 : 

Whan kynled was the fyre, with 

pitous cheere 

Unto Dyan sche spak, as ye may Sopra gli accesi fuochi nelFas- 
heere. petto 

A dire come appresso qui fie 
detto : 

O chaste goddess of the woodes Dea, a cui la terra [il cielo. il 

greene, mare] 

To whom bothe heven and erth E % regni di PUvton son mani- 
and see is scene, f esti, 

Q;aeQnoiil[iQregne of Pluto diQvk 

and lowe, — — 

Goddess of maydenes, 


As keep me fro the vengans of O casta Dea, de' boschi lustra- 

thilk yre, trice, 

That Atheon boughte trewely : La qual ti fei a vergini servire, 

E se' delle tue ire vengiatrice ; 
Cosi come Atteon pote sentire 

^ The following Italian lines Chaucer doubles up into : 
And did hir thinges, as men may biholde 
In Stace of Thebes and the hohes olde. 


lUd: 81: 

I am yit, thou wost, of thi lo soiio ancora pur delle tue 

company, schiere 

A mayden, and love huntyng Vergine, assai piu atta alia 

and venery, faretra, 

And for to walken in the woodes Ed a boschi cereare, che a 

wylde, piacere 

And nought to ben a wyf, and Per amor a marito 

be with chylde. 

1456: 82: 

And Palamon, that hath such 

love to me, 
And eek Arcite, that loveth me si me affetta 

so sore, 

This grace I praye the withouten L'uno e I'atro de' giovani ama- 

more, dori 

And sende love and pees betwix Di cui gioja d'amor ciascuno 

hem two ; aspetta 

E di lor guerra tra lor metti pace ; 


And fro me torne awey here 

hertes so. 

That al here hoote love and here — faccia il loro affanno 


Al here besy torment, and al Volgere in dolce pace, o in altra 

here fyre, cosa 

Be queymt, or tm*ned in another 


And if so be thou wolt do me no E se gl'Iddii avesson pur dis- 
grace, posto 
Or if my destyne be schapid so, Con eterna parola che gia sia 
That I schal needes have on of Ba lor seguito ci-o ch'hauno pro- 
hem two, posto, 
So send me him that most Fa che ne venga nelle braccia 
desire th me. mia 

Colui al qual col vero piu mi 

E che con piu fermezza mi disia. 

Knight's Tale, 1. 1473, &c. Teseide 88 : 

The fyres brenne upon the auter Ardieno i fuochi mentre che 

cleer, pregava 

Whil Emelye was thus in hire 


1475 : 91 : 

But sodeinly sche saugh a sighte — 


For right anon on of the fyres Piu verso il fuoco le luci sospinse, 



And quyked agayn, and -after Ne stette guari clie I'una fu 

that anon spenta, 

That other fyr was queynfc, and Poi per se si raccese, e I'alta 

al agon ; tinse, 

And as it queynt, it made a E tal divenne qual talor diventa 

As doth a wete brond in his Quella del zolfo, le punte men- 

brennyng. ando 

In qua e'n la gia forte mormo- 

And at the brondes end out ran E parean gli accesi tizzoni 

As it were bloody dropes many Da' capi spenti, tutti gian ge- 

oon ; mendo 

For which so sore agast was Lagrime ta', che spegneano 1 

Emelye, carboni : 

That she wel neih mad was, and Le quali cose Emilia pur veg- 

gan to crie, gen do 

For sche ne wiste what it signi- Gli atti non prese ne le con- 

fyede dizioni 

Debitamente del fudco — 

1491 : 89 : 

Among the goddes hye it is Gia e nel cielo tra gli I>nfer7}iata 

And by eterne word write and Che tusiasposadell'undicostoro, 

Thou schalt be wedded unto oon E Diana ne e lieta : ma celato 

of tho, 
That have for the so moche care Poco ti fia qual debba esser di 

and wo ; loro, 

But unto which of hem may I Se ben da te il tempio fie mirato. 

nat telle. 
Farewel, for I may her no lenger Cid che avverra, non fuor di 

dwell e. questo Coro 

The fyres which that on myn Osserva attenta, e in rer V altar 

auter brenne rimira •■ 

Schuln the declare, or that thou E vedrai che'l tuo core disira. 

go henne, 

Thyw adventure of love, and in E questo detto, sonar le saette 

this caas'. 
And with that word, the arwes Delia faretra di Diana bella 

in the caas etc. etc. 

Of the goddesse clatren faste 

and rj'^nge etc. etc. 

After this we come to the prayer of Arcite, Kn. Tale, 
1515—1560 = Tes. YII. 24—28, of which very little is 
to "be said ; yet we may remark that it is a closer imitation 
than the preceding part, and that at some places the 
words coincide wonderfully. 


KnigM's Tale, 1. 1515, &c. - Teseide VII. 24 : 

O stronge God, that in the [Forte Dio, che ne* regni nevosi 

reynes colde 

Of Trace honoured and lord art Bistonii servi le tue sacre case] 

thou y-holde 

1520 : 25 : 

If so be that my youthe may Se pur alcun -valor nella mia 

deserve etade 

And that my might be worthi E le mle forze meritan ched io 

for to serve 

Thy godhed, that I may be on De' tuoi sia detto, per quella 

of thine, pietade 

' Ch'ebbe Nettuno, allor che con 

For thilke peyne and that hoote disio 

fuyre, Di Citerea vsavi la heltade, 

In which whilom thou brendest Rinchiuso da Vulcano 

for desyre^ , umilmente ti prego 

Whan that thou usedest the gret Che agli miei prieghi tu non 

hewte faccia niega. 

Of faire freissche Venus 

1530 : 2^'. 
When Vulcamis hadde caught Jo son, come tu vedi, giovinetto, 
the in his laas, E per nuova bellezza^ tanto 

2g33 . Sotto sua signoria mi tien dis- 

Have reuthe as wel upon my ^, , . . . ., „ . 

Che le mie forze e tutto 1 mio 

peynes smerte. 
I am yong and unkonnyng, as 


thou wost ' Convien ch'io mostri, se pur vo' 

And, as I'trowe, with love ^ ^j!®**? ., , ..,..., . 

offendid most, ^®^*^^' ^^ ^^^ ^^^ P^^ ^^^'^ ^^ ^^^ 
[ core 

E sanza te io son poco possente, 

Anzi piuttosto io non posso 
1^^^ ' niente. 

And wel I woot, or sche me 

mercy heete, 
I moot with strengthe wyn hir 

in the place ; 
And wel I wot, withouten help 

or grace 
Of the, ne may my strengthe 

nought avayle. ^ ^ 

Then help me, lord, to morn in Dunque m'ajuta, per quel sommo 

my batayle, foco 

For thilke fyr that whilom brende Che te arse gia, siccome me arde 

the, ora, 
As wel as this fire now brenneth 

me ; 

And do to morn that I have the S'ip son diquesta pugna vincitore 



JMyn be the travail, al thin be lo il diletto, e tu n'abbia I'onore. 
the glorie. 

1562 : 
And in thy tempul I wol my 

baner honge 
And alle the a7^mes of my com- 

And ever more, unto that day I 

Merne fyr I wol bifore the 

Arid eek to this avow I wol me 

bynde : 
My herd, myn heer that hangeth 

longe adoun, 
That never yit ne felt offensioun 
Of rasour ne of schere, 1 wol 

thee give. etc. 

I tempj tuoi eterni s'orneranno 

Dell' armi del mio vinto com-' 

Ed ancora le mie vi penderanno 

Eterni fuochi sempre vi arde- 

E la barba e i miei crin, che 

Di f erro non sentirno, ti prometto 

Se mi fai vincitor, com*io t'ho 
detto. etc. 

In the following section of the Knighf^ Tale^ Chaucer's 
description of the tournament is quite independent of that 
of Boccaccio. On such occasions our poet needs not the 
guiding hand of a predecessor ; he is himself well skilled 
in all chivalrous matters, and likes now and then to go his 
own way. 

The next passage of any length, literally borrowed 
from the Teseida, is the account of Arcite's death. Kn. T., 
1941-48 = Te5., X. Ill :— 

Knight's Tale, 1. 1941, &c. 

For fro his herte up to his brest 

was come 
The cold of deth, that him hadde 

And yet moreover in his armes 

^he vital strength is lost, and al 

X. Ill : 

La quale ^ in ciascun membra 

era venuta 
Da' piedi in su venendo verso il 

Ed ancor nelle braccia era 

La mtal forza ; sol nello intel- 

Only the intellect y withouten E nel cuore era ancora sostenuta 

That dwelled in his herte sik 

and sore 
G-an fayle, when the herte felte 

.Duskyng his eyghen two, and 

faylede breth. 

La poca vita, ma gia si ristretto- 
Eragli'l tristo cor del mortal gelo 
Che agli occhi fe' subitamente 

* sc. la morte. 

384 XII. DR J-. KOCH. Chaucer's troilus, and the teseide. 

The following stanza of his original he. condenses into 
two lines — and then comes the famous description of 
Arcite's soul 0:01110: to heaven. 

Troilus V. 260 : 

And when that he was slayn in 

this manere, 
His lighte gost ful blisfuUy is 

Up to the holughness of the 

seventhe spere ^ 

In convers letynge everych 

And ther he saugh, with ful 

The erratyli sterres, herkenynge 

With sownes ful of hevenysh 


261 : 
And down from thennes he gan 

This litel spot of erth, that with 

Embraced is, and fully gah 

This wreched world, and helde 

al vanyte, 
To respect of the pleyne felicite 
That is in hevene above ; and al 

the laste, 
rher he was slayn his lokynge 

down he caste. 

262 : 
And in hymself he lough right 

at the wo 
Of hem that wepten for his deth 

so faste, 
And dampned al our work that 

folweth so 
The-blynde luste, the which that 

may not laste, 
And sholden al our herte on 

hevene caste ; 
And forth he wente, shortly for 

to telle, 
Ther as Mercurie sorted hym to 


If Chaucer had not used these stanzas in Troilus and 
Gryseyde, he would perhaps have here inserted a closer 
imitation : this seems to me the chief reason why he omits 

Teseide XI. 1 : 

Finito Arcita colei nominando 
La qual nel mondo piu che altro 

L'anima lieve se ne gi volando 
Ver la concavita del cielo ottava 
Degli elementi i connessi lasci- 

Quivi le stelle erratiche ammi- 


Sno7ii ascoltando pieni di dol- 

Quindi si volse in giu a rimirare 
Le cose abbandonate, e vide il 

Globo terreno, a cui d'intorno il 



Ed ogni cosa da nulla stimare 
A resjpetto del ciel ; e in fine al 

La dove aveva il corpo suo 

Gli occhi fermo alquanto rivol- 



E fece risa de' pianti dolenti 
Delia turba lernea ; la vanitate 
Forte dannaiido delle umane 

Le qua' da tenebrosa cechitate 
Mattamente oscurate nelle menti 
Seguon del Mondo la falsa bel- 

tate : 
Lasciando il cielo, quindi se 

ne gio .. . , 

'EqI loco a cui Mercurio la sortio. 

XII. DR J. KOCH. Chaucer's tboilus, and the teseibe. 335 

tliem in tlie Knighfs Tale, and only gives a hint of such 
an omission by a humorous allusion.^ 

* [Mr Furnivall transfers to a note the following parts of my 
text on which I have laid some stress, p. 393. I here mean not 
only to refute Ten-Brink's supposition, but to show that Chaucer 
purposely lifted his stanzas into Troilus and Cryseyde ; from 
which follows that he himself rejected the first cast of Palamon and 

The strange supposition by which Prof. Ten-Brink, at p. 61 
of his Studien, tries to explain the fact that these stanzas have got 
into Troilus and Cryseyde, appears to me to be quite without 

The Professor has just shown that the aforesaid description was 
evidently not originally destined for the Troilus ; but he _as shown 
it with such emphasis that he runs a good deal beyond the mark. 
Thus, he says, speaking of stanza 262.: 

" And in hymself he lough right at the wo 
Of them that wepten for hir deth so fast . . . ." 
" Who are those people who wept ? Where did he speak of them ? 
Methinks, those lines require a statement of the fact, that some- 
body did weep for the death of Troilus, etc." 

Now I ask, most humbly, if I am not quite intelligible and 
correct, when T say, for instance : " I speak to all those that have 
read the poems of Chaucer," although I have not previously stated 
the fact that the poems have been read, and who the readers were ? 
And is not the Troilus case quite an analogous one ? Is it not 
quite natural that the death of a hero is wept for, even though the 
fact is not specially mentioned, and the names of the weepers are 
not given? Who will find fault with the poet's saying: ''The 
hero's soul above in heaven laught at the complaint of those who 
lamented his death?" "/Sly fast" is the only suspicious expres- 
sion ; but it is not at all necessary to refer this " so " to some 
previous passage ; it may be understood as a mere emphasising 
expression, such as *' very, most," etc. Generally speaking, I admit 
that it is not a very judicious arrangement, when a poet, after 
having related his hero's ascension to the higher spheres, turns 
back again to a complaint of his death ;_ but surely, such a mistake 
does not deserve the reproach with which Prof. Ten-Brink charges 
Chaucer. It is negligent, but not absurd ; and I am convinced 
that everybody who reads this passage without knowing that its 
three stanzas originally belonged to another poem, will pass over 
them without stumbling or hesitation. 

The reader will perhaps be astonished at my so much urging this 
rather trifling incident ; but I lay some stress upon it because I- want 
to prove that Chaucer himself transferred this passage from his first 
Palamon and Arcite into Troilus and Cryseyde* Prof. Ten-Brink 
is at a loss, as he avows (p. 61), to explain how these lines found 
their way into the latter poem. He suggests either that Chaucer 
himself put them on a leaf in this- part of his manuscript, with the 
vague intention of inserting them some day, after a proper revision, 
into the Troilus ; or that old Adam Scrivener is responsible for the 
deed. In my opinion, however, Chaucer never intended to change 
anything in these stanzas, but added them on purpose to Troilus 


After the last quotation {KnigJifs Tale, 1941, etc.), the 
passages closely imitated by Chaucer from the Teseida 
become scarcer and scarcer. There are no longer coherent 
descriptions or speeches like those instanced above ; but 
although remarkable sections are scattered through all the 
rest of the poem, we shall find some stanzas of the Teseida 
nearly literally reproduced in the Ganterhury Tales : — 
Knight's Tale, 1. 1995, &c. Teseide XI. 13 : 

Duk Theseus with al his busy Quinci Teseo con sollecita Gtf7'a 

cure, Cose ricerca per solenne onore 

Cast busyly wher that the Fare ad Arcita nella sepoltura, 

sepulture Ne da cid il trasse angoscia ne 

Of good Arcyte may best y- dolore, 

maked be Ma penso, che nel bosco u' la 


and Cryseyde, just as they were. For the conclusion of the^ 
Filostrato is too hasty. In two lines, X. 49. 7. 8, Boccaccio relates 
the death of Troilus, and tben immediately ends with the stanza 
which Chaucer has translated in his stanza, 11. 1872-78. Our poet 
felt this want ; and remembering that passage in his Palamon and 
Arcite as just the thing to enlarge the abrupt conclusion of his 
original with, he inserted it here without deeming it necessary to 
make any alteration in it. If our modern taste requires some 
modification in the stanzas, we must not forget that Chaucer is 
really sometimes a little careless about such things. Prof. Ten- 
Brink, indeed, refutes those examples which Herr Hertzberg, in 
Ebert's Jahrhtich, VIII. 162, brings forward to show our poet's 
looseness in this respect, by reminding us that the Canterhury 
Tales were le^ft unfinished, and that the poet had most likely 
intended to revise them, when death brought his work to an 
unexpected end. But besides these apparent negligences, Herr 
Hertzberg calls our attention to line 891 (according to Tyrwhitt's 
edition) of the Knighfs Tale, 11. 15530 and 15546 of the Second 
Noun's Tale ; 1. 12942 of the SMpman's Tale, etc.> there are some 
other instances which can not so easily be put aside. , I mean 
those contradictions in the KnighVs Tale, 11. 1137, 1153, etc., and 
in the Parlament of Foules, 1. 277, of which I have just spoken on 
p. 370, etc. above. The former poem did undergo a thorough revision 
before it was inserted among the Canter'bury Tales ; the latter does 
not belong to this collection at all, so that Prof.' Ten-Brink's 
explanation cannot be applied to either. If Chaucer has overlooked 
some contradictions in the above quoted places, it would be no 
crime to accuse him of some other carelessnesses. This is not 
intended as a severe reproach ; it is only one proof more that slight 
slips are made, even by great men. After this discussion, I think 
we may conclude that no other man than Chaucer himself lifted 
those three stanzas from his Palamon and Arcite into his Troihis 
and Cryseyde, and that we have not the least right to charge poor 
Adam Scrivener with a new sin against his patron. 

XII. Chaucer's knight's tale, and the teseide, 387 

2002 : 
That in the selve grove, soote 

and greene, 
Ther as he hadde his amorous 

His compleynt, and for love his 

hoote fyres, 
He wolde make a fyr, in which 

Funeral he might hem al accom- 


Spiego sovente, che gli dava 

Faria comporre il rogo, dentra 

al quale 
Lhifizio si compiesse funerale. 

Other passages borrowed from the Italian poem are :• 
Kn. T, 1970-71 = Te^, XI. 7; Kn, T. 1979, etc. == Tes. 
XI. 9 (first line) and XI. 10 (The Complaint for Arcite); 
Kn. T. 1985 = XII. 6. (Chaucer has attributed these 
words to Egeus, whilst in the Teseida they are ascribed to 
Theseus.) Further, Kn. T. 2012-22 = Tes. XI, 15, 16 
(Preparations for the funeral) ; Kn,, T, 2047, etc. = Tes, 
XL 40, 2094, etc. = XL 53 (The funeral), 2118, etc. == 
XIL 4, 2123 = XIL 5, 2159, etc. = XIL 7 (Speech of 

Knight's Tale, 1. 1970, &c. 

So gret a wepyng was ther noon 

Whan Ector was i-hrought, al 

freissh i-slayn. 

Teseide XI. 7 : 

Non di Priamo tal pianto fer le 

La moglie e le figliuole, allor 

che morto 
Fu lor recato il comperato Ettore. 

1979 : 
No man mighte glade Theseus 

That knew this worldes trans- 

As he hadde seen it tome up and 

loye after woo, and woe aftir 

And schewed him ensample — 

1985 : 
" Right as ther deyde never man, 

quod he, 
That he ne lyved in erthe in som 

Yit ther ne lyvede never man," 
he geyde, 


XL 9 : 
Nun potea racconsolar Teseo. 

XL. 10 : 
Ma come savio ed uom che 

I mondan casi e le cose avvenute, 
Siccome quel che assai veduto 


II dolor dentro istrinsecon virtute 
Per dare esempio 

XIi: 6 : 
Siccome alcuno che giammai 

non visse, 
Non mori mai, cosi si puo vedere 
Che alcun non visse mai che 

non morisse 

388 XII. Chaucer's knights tale, and the teseide. 

In al this world, that som tyme 
he ne deyde. 

2012: XI. 15: 

And after this, Theseus hath i- E fece poi un f eretrp venire 

sent Eeale a se davanti ; e tosto fello 

After a heer, and it al over- B'lin drappo a oro bellissimo 

spradde fornire, 

With cloth of golde, the richest E similimente ancor fece di 

that the hadde. quello 

And of the same sute he clad II morto Arcita tutto rivestire, 

Arcyte ; E poi il fece a giacer porre in 

; . _ ello 

Eke on his heed a coroune of Incoronato di f rondo d'alloro . .. . 

' laurer grene ; 

; , 2021. 2022 : XL 16: 

And for the poeple schulde see E poiche fu d'ogni parte lucente 

him alle, II nuovo giorno, egli 1 fece 
Whan it was. day he brought portare 

hem to the halle. Nella gran corte, ove tutta la 

: gente, 

. Come volea, il poteva riguar- 

dare . . . 

Knight's Tale, 1. 2047, &o. Teseide XL. 40 : 

Upon the right hpnd wente olde La venne Palemone, al quale 

Egeus, Egeo 

And on that other syde duk Dolente andava dal suo destro 

Theseus, lato. 

With vessels in here hand of E dal sinistro gli venne Teseo 

gold wel fyn,* Dagli altri Eegi poi tutta fasci- 
As ful of hony, mylk and blood, ato : 

and wyn ; Fmilia poi appresso si vedeo 

Eke Palamon, with a gret com- Col piu debole sesso sconsolato 

panye; A compagnia': ed essa in mano 
And after that com wofulEmelj'^e, il foco 

With fyr in bond, as was that Feral recava al doloroso loco. 

time the gyse. 

2094 : XI. 53 : 

Thre tymes ryden al the ^ Edasinistramancorrendoingiro 

aboute Tre volte il rogo tutto intorniaro 

Upon the lefte bond, with an ^ •^— 

heih schoutyng, e risonaro 

And thries with here speres Le lance — 

clateryng ... 

* These two lines are imitated from the beginning of the 37th. 
stanza : 

Gli piu nobili Achivi i vasi cari 
Di mel, di sangue e di latte novello 
Pieni portavan — 

XII. Chaucer's knight's tale, and the teseide, 389 

Knight's Tale, 1. 2118, &c. 

For which this noble Theseus 

Let senden after gentil Palamon, 
Unwist of him what was the 

cause and why ; 
But in his blake clothes sorw- 

He cam 

Teseide XII. 4 : 

Perche tosto chiamato Palemone 
Con molti di que' Ke accom- 

Non sappiend 'esso pero la 

Di ner vestito — - — 


Whan they were sette, and 
' hussht was al the place 
And Theseus abyden hadde a 

Or eny word cam fro his wyse 


And with a sad visage he sykede 

And after that right thus he 

seide his wille. 

XII. 5 : 

E quivi poi com ogni uomo 

Si fu posto a sedere, Teseo istette 
Per lungo sjyazio sanza dir niente : 

Dentro tenendo le lagrime strette 
Ch'agli occhi per pieta volean 

Cosi parlando incomincio egli a 

dire : 

XII. 7 : 

Le quercie ch'han si lungo nutri- 

E tanta vita quanta noi vedemo, 
Hanno pure alcun tempo fini- 

mento : 
Le dure pietre ancor che noi 

Per accidenti varii, mancamento 
Ancora avere, aperto lo sapemo ; 
E fiumi pieni esser talor seccati 
Veggiamo — ■ 


Lo the ook, that hath so longe 

Fro tyme that it gynneth first to 

And hath- so long a lyf, as we 

may see, 
Yet atte laste wasted is the tree. 
Considereth eek, how that the 

harde stoon 
Under oure foot, on which we 

trede and goon, 
Yit avasteth it, as it lyth by the 

The brode ryver some tyme 

wexeth dreye. 

In tliis enumeration I have passed over several places 
which Mr H. Ward points out as being translations from 
Boccaccio. For the resemblances between them and the 
original are often so slight or so commonplace, that it is 
not at all necessary to look upon them as borrowed from 
the Italian. As for instance : 

Knight's Tale, 1. 977 : 

Ye woot yourself, sche may not 
wedde two 

Teseide V. 95. 7 : 

Ma non la piu di voi aver 
ciascuno: etc. 

390 XII. cuxuciiiCs knight's tale, and the teseide. 

other resemblances are accidental, as wlien Chaucer is 
obliged to choose nearly the same words as his original 
in order to narrate the same circumstances; as for 
instance : 

Knight's Tale, 1. 356, &c. 

And he were caught, it was 

acorded thus, 
That with a swerd he scholde 

lese his heed. 

Teseide III. 54 : 
S'i*ce lo prendo gli faro tagliare 

La testa sanza fallo immante- 

In other places the apparent similarities are only repro- 
ductions in a general sense, as for instance : 11. 2173-74 = 
Tes, XII. 10, where Chaucer gives in two lines a kind of 
summary of a whole stanza of his model. A few passages^ 
however, seem indeed from the originality of thought, 
directly taken from the Teseida, or rather from our poet's 
first version of Palamon and Arcite. Such are : 

Knight's Tale, 1. 810, &c. 

Yet some tyme it schal falle 

upon a day 
That falleth nought eft in a 

thousand yeere . . . 

Knight's Tale, 1. 1648, &c. 

Ther fomen steedes, on the 

golden hridel 

Heer thre, ther ten, haldyng her 

Dyvynyng of this Thebans 

knightes two. 

1. 1703 : 
The voice of the poepul toucliitJi 

So lowde criede they with mery 

Steven : 
God save such a lord that is so 

He wilnefch no destruccioun of 

blood ! 

Teseide V. 77 : 

Ma come noi veggiam venire in 

Cosa che In milFanni non 

avviene . . . 

Teseide VII. 97 : 

Quivi destrier grandissimi 

Co selle ricche di argento e di 

E gli spumanti lor freni rodi- 

ensi ... 

Ih. 98 : 

Tra gli quattro e gli sei quivi 

Tra lor mostrando diverse ragioni 
Di qual oredevan degli inna- 

morati . . . 

Ih. 14 t 
Be' nobili e del popolo il romore 
Toccb le stelle, si fu alto e forte ; 
Gl' Iddii dicendo salvi tal signore 
Che tra gli amanti fugge la ria 

XII. Chaucer's knights tale, and the teseide. 391 

1.2183: J&. XII. 11: 

Than is it wisdom, as thenketh E pero far della necessitate 


To maken vertu of necessite, VlrtitqaQ.ndo bisogna,dsapienza. 

Now casting a look back on the whole of those passages 
which I have pointed out as bearing the character of 
translations from the Teseida, we shall see that they are not 
gratuitously chosen by Chaucer for insertion into his own 
production. On the contrary, it seems evident to me that 
the Tale itself is an entirely free adaptation from the 
Italian poem. Chaucer omits and adds, ad libitum, just as 
he himseK thinks fittest to his own taste, and consequently 
to that of his countrymen ; he also shortens where he 
holds it necessary so to do, in order to make his poem 
suitable for forming a part of his Canterbury Tales. For 
these reasons the tenor of the whole and many of the 
minor circumstances have been altered,^ — but where the 
quick course of the narrative is checked, i. e. where our 
poet has to write a description, or make a reflection, he 
often has recourse to his original, and borrows from it 
such passages as relate to antiquity, or contain well-set 
speeches, &c. 

!N'ow, as I endeavoured to show before, there are two 
of those descriptions which were not directly taken from 
the Teseida, nor do they agree with the present. tenor 
of the KnigTifs Tale : I mean, the passages on the temple 
of Mars and on that of Diana, both of which have the 
striking peculiarity of being told in the first person of the 
verb, which never occurs again in our poem, except where 
the Elnight really speaks in his own person. A few lines 
more are pointed out by Prof. Ten-Brink as not belonging 
to the Teseida, but which have parallels in the opening 
stanzas of Queue Anelida, These are 11. 14 — 16 (according 
to Dr Morris's edition) = st. 7 of the latter poem. All 

' Whether the JSJnighfs Tale has gained or lost hj this treat- 
ment, I shall not discuss here. An assthetical judgment has 
nothing to do with the present enquiries. 

392 BITS OF knight's tale FROr. THE OLD PAL. AND AEGITE, 

these passages most likely once formed part of the early 
Falamon and Arcite, as we have seen above. And assum- 
ing that Chaucer in a few instances re-wrote his Knighfs 
Tale, after its first English version, is it not the most 
natural conclusion that he in the other cases made use of 
his own book, instead of here and there translating a few 
words from the Teseida ? This supposition gains, more 
and more ground when Ave try to form an idea as to how 
Chaucer treated his old version. Surely, it was not always 
hefore him, but he must rather have written his Kniglifs 
Tale from memory. When, however, he remembered some 
fine description or some other striking passage, he fetched 
his Falamon and Arcite manuscript from the shelf, and 
inserted such portions more literally, modifying them 
according to the heroic verse, of course, which could easily 
be transferred into the later form of his poem. 

But there. is another proof to support this supposition. 
Comparing all those passages marked by Mr H. Ward, 
and compared by me with the corresponding sections in 
the Teseida, we shall see that almost every time Chaucer 
has imitated the beginning of a stanza, he has left out the 
middle, and reproduced the end. The proportion of the 
stanzas, the beginnings of which are adapted, to those 
where they are neglected, is 5 to 1. This mode of 
treating his original quite agrees with the poem of Troilus 
and Gryseyde, which Mr Eossetti has closely compared, in 
the Society's publications, with Boccaccio's Fllostrato, 
The seven-line stanza of Chaucer does not allow him to 
follow his model step by step, and so he is obliged, from 
regard to rhythm and metre, to omit a line or two, and he 
generally does this in the middle of his stanzas. This fact we 
learn from Troilus and Gryseyde ; and considering that, as 
Prof. Ten-Brink has shown, Falamon and Arcite was 
originally written in that metre, it becomes more and more 
likely that in all those cases where closer imitations of the 
Italian occur, we have to deal with modified remnants of 


the first version of the Palamon, For, if Chaucer had 
translated directly from the Teseiday he would perhaps 
have much more frequently neglected the beginning of the 
single stanzas. But looking into his old version^ he repro- 
duced his former translation as far as the rhyme and the 
new style of his tale allowed. 

I repeat as the results of my investigations. 1. That 
the description of the temple of Yenus in the Parlament of 
JFoules is (except the last lines) an unmodified fragment of 
the first version of Palamon and Arcite. 2. That Chaucer 
himself most likely inserted the stanzas about Arcite's 
going to heaven into his Troilus and Gryseyde (see note 
i, p. 385, etc.). 3. That those passages in the KnigMs 
Tale, which prove to be close imitations, of the Teseida, 
are not taken directly from the Teseida, but most probably 
from Chaucer's first version, his Palamon and Arcitey 
and may be considered as modified fragments of it. 

One objection might be made against the above con- 
clusions, which I must refute before going on with my 
researches. "Is it not possible," somebody may ask, 
" that Chaucer did not translate the whole of the Teseida 
before he resolved to adapt this poem for his Ganterhury 
Tales, but that he selected single passages in order to 
insert them into his later poetical productions ? " First of 
all, the great number of passages, modified or in their 
original shape, from the beginning, the middle, and the 
end of the Teseida, allow little doubt of his having finished 
his first version of Palamon and Arcite, Further, some ex; 
pressions occurring in these passages, — as for instance, in the 
often-mentioned description of the temple of Mars inserted 
into Troilus and Gryseyde, — show that they were originally 
-not destined for the places now assigned to them. And, 
finally, Chaucer himself, enumerating his works in the 
Prologue of his Legende of Good Women, says, 1. 720 ; 


"And al the love of Palamon and Arcite," — which line 
leaves no doubt that he is speaking of a poem that he had 
Teallj brought to an end. Having thus stated that he did 
actually finish a .first version of Palamon and Arcite, 
the assumption that he took parts from it, and these the 
most successful ones, in order to transfer them to other 
poems, is, to say the least of it, highly improbable. I don't 
think a poet would rob one of his compositions of some of 
its beauties, in order to adorn another with them, so long 
as he hoped for success with the first poem. In my 
opinion, therefore, Chaucer did not do so before he rejected 
his first version of Palamon and Arcite, Prof. Ten-Brink 
and others ascribe the fact that this poem is entirely lost 
to us, to its having been distasteful to the English public ; 
and they think that our poet was therefore compelled to 
withdraw it. But considering the want of judgment of 
the general public, and even of the court, in those times, 
when no critical paper led the public taste, when the most 
preposterous chivalrous romances, the most drily written 
Lives of Saints, were very much admired, it would be 
astonishing, nay impossible, that a poem like the Teseida^ 
englisht by Chaucer, should be rejected in that way. For 
this poetical work does not differ so much from those then 
in vogue as to account for such neglect. Its intrinsic 
jiralue alone places it on a higher level than the 
average romances of the day, and its scenery, its costumes 
and habits, half-ancient, half-modern, its romantic love and 
fierce combat, — all these things are quite the same in the 
Teseida as in many of the favourite poetical works of that 
-period. It differs from them chiefly in its more elaborate 
style, its more skilful arrangement, and more refined 
sentiments. But these deviations from the^ general tenor 
of the romances are scarcely sufficient to account for general 
unpopularity. I believe rather that the cause of the with- 
drawal of the first version, was Chaucer's growing intellect, 
:and ripening taste for more realistic representation. 


Xet us cast a glance on the course of his life and mental 
development. As we know^ he spent his youth at the 
court of the Countess of Ulster, wife of King Edw. Ill's 
son Lionel, took part in campaigns against France, and was 
appointed valet to the King in, or before, 1367. Thus he 
received the education of a young nobleman, and was 
sarely among those Esquires who were obliged to sing 
before the court, and to "talk of Chronicles of kings," etc. 
(C£ Edward IV s Household hook, p. xiii.) About this 
time he undertook the translation of the Roman de la . 
Eose, the fashionable work of the day, and after this he 
published the Dethe of Blaunche, or Boke of the Duchesse, 
in which two poems he appears as an imitator of the French 
taste, which then reigned over all the civilised world: here 
satirical, there amorous, but both without any depth of 
sentiment. After this he is the bearer of an ofi&cial 
message to Italy ; and from this time a new Period of his 
writings is to be dated. Influenced by the new direction 
taken by Italian poets, who began to introduce rules and 
laws, according to the ancients, into the shapeless mass of 
mediaeval poetry, Chaucer saw the emptiness and flatness 
of his French models, and he adopted a more pathetic 
and serious style of composition. In this style he 
writes the lAfe of Saint Cecily, and translates the Teseida, 
the first epic poem of Boccaccio, in which he for the first 
time^ employs a metre imitated from the Italians. But 
his innate humour and fun did not allow him long to 
follow this new ideal. The contrast between those pathetic 
love-stories and his own material stand-point, shows itself 
for the first time in Troilus and Gryseyde ; but notwith- 
standing some success in comical description, he cannot 
yet rise to free humour: his hesitancy between irony 
and pathos destroys every harmony. But the House of 
Fame overcomes this difficulty; it shows our poet's 
wonderful genius in its new splendour ; fun and earnest 
'I hold that he did it first in the Plf7j,—F. J. F, 


alternate most skilfully : his true liuniour is born. This 
■ success, however, might have been evanescent, had not the 
Canterbury Tales secured Chaucer's immortality. 

In this short sketch, in which I have, for reasons 
which I shall explain later, passed over some works of our 
poet, I follow Prof. Ten-Brink, in placing the first version 
oi Palamon and Arcite between \h^ Life of St Cecily and 
Troilus. Taking this for granted, it naturally follows 
that the poem should show the character of this period, 
i. e. it must have borne the stamp of the fresh influence 
of the Italians, still unchecked by the new humour 
emanating from Troilus and Cryseyde, Consulting the 
fragments of the Palamon and Arcite still extant, we 
shall find that they are all reproductions of the original, in 
a pathetic style, with no trace of satire and joke in them. 
But supposing, that in other parts of- the older Palamon 
and Arcite some humour existed, and that the whole of it 
consequently resembled our present version, the KnigMs 
Tale, for what reason did Chaucer reject the former ; or 
why did the public — ^if we really must regard it — refuse 
its favour to a poem, which was afterwards, so far as we 
can judge, highly appreciated 1 I should think it very 
superfluous labour to change the metre or the ryme of a 
poetical work for the sake of the metre or the ryme alone. 
For if Chaucer had liked to shorten it here and there, he 
might have done so by omitting a certain number of 
stanzas, and altering a few lines before and after, without 
taking the trouble of changing the ryme throughout the 
whole of the poem. Further, there is no trace whatever, 
of a first version in any of the manuscripts preserved to us. 
This circumstance shows that the original Palamon and 
Arcite was but little circulated, or not circulated at all. 
And why? Most likely, because Chaucer himself did 
not think his poem fit for publicity. It never could 
have been so bad that a general dislike was able to suppress 
it entirely. Even weaker productions of favourite poets, — 

XII. Chaucer's palamon and abcite little known. 397 

and Chaucer undoubtedly was a pet at court — wrould never 
have met with such disdain as to be silenced for ever. 

Chaucer seems to corroborate this conclusion by his 
own words in the above-mentioned passage of the Prologue 
of the Legende of Good Women : he alleges himself to be 
the author of 

— " al the love of Palamon and Arcite 

Of Thebes, thotigh the story e ys Tinomen lyte,^^ 

The whole passage runs briefly, as follows : " Cupid 
accuses Chaucer of having refused the respect due to him, 
but he is defended by the companion of the god, the lady 
to whom the poet has devoted his love. She says : * Thou 
art too severe, Lord ; for often he has glorified thy name 
in his songs, and shown by them the right way to many a 
miscreant. To do this most praiseworthy work, he wrote 
The House of Fame, etc. etc., and Palamon and A^xite : — 
hut this story, alas, is Icnown too little 1 '* 

Prof. Ten-Brink wishes to refer these words (p. 64, 1. 
c.) to a passage in a letter of Boccaccio to Fiammetta, 
where he says, speaking of the Teseida, " that the source of 
this poem is not generally known." This reference may 
indeed be admitted, but in my opinion it was not intended 
by Chaucer. Eor, there is no testimony to confirm the 
supposition that our poet ever saw this letter, or a copy of 
it. Further, if the source of the original was little known 
to the public,^ its imitation could scarcely have been in the 
same predicament. Finally, the context proves that those 
woi'ds ("the story is knowen lite") are only meant to be 
an excuse for the poet standing before Cupid's severe 
tribunal. His fair advocate says by them, — as I under- 
stand : — " This poor mortal has endeavoured to show thy 
omnipotence in his book of Palamon and Arcite, yet thou 
dost not know it, and so thou chargest him with unjust 
reproach/' etc. Another poem, no longer extant^ receives 
a similar comment in the aforesaid list : 1. 428, 

" He made also, goon is a grete while, 
Origenes upon the Maudeleyne." 

598 XII, chaucer'3 (old) pal. and arc. prom the teseida. 

This "it is long ago " seems to express a kind of disregard or 
contempt, whicli a man sometimes shows towards his first 
attempts in poetry ; and inasmuch as this book, so similar 
to Falamon and Arcite, has entirely disappeared, we may 
find a certain hint in this *^ goon a greate whyle,'' that its 
author did not care much for the work, and had, perhaps, 
as in the case of the above translation, destroyed the 
On^ewes himself in his riper age. Well, this is a mere 
hypothesis ; but it is not improbable that the words " goon 
is a grete while," are meant to be an excuse similar to 
^*thogh the storie is knowen lyte." 

From all these considerations, it appears that the first 
version, the Falamon and Arcite, must have been very 
different from the present one, the Kni^Ms Tale ; and it 
is very likely that it was built more entirely on the 
Teseida. So Tyrwhitt's ingenious conjecture seems to be 
newly corroborated by my researches ; he says, 1. c. p. 
213: "It is not impossible that at first it was a mere 
translation of the Teseida of Boccace, and that its present 
form was given it, when Chaucer determined to assign it 
the first place among his Canterlury Tales ^ 

One objection against this judgment seems to lie in 
Prof. Ten-Brink's proof (IL 1—62), that Chaucer had 
already in his first version, — except in the first stanzas, — 
omitted the first book of the Teseida. And another 
objection may perhaps be founded on what I have said 
before about the temple of Diana. But, as every student 
knows, Chaucer, although in the beginning of his literary 
career not much better than a skilful translator, never 
thought of submitting himself slavishly to his original. 
These deviations from Boccaccio, therefore, do not at all 
preclude the idea that the former edition of our poem was 
a ' much closer imitation than the present one ; the chief 
point is : that the tenor and representation of the whole 
showed the same pathos as the Teseida. And therefore it 
is not probable that fun and humour had already appeared 


in this work. This character of the poet would correspond 
very well with the general character of the period in which 
it must have been written : it belongs to that epoch when 
Chaucer's humour had not yet manifested itself : it was a 
fine composition in the modern sense of French classicism, 
pathetic, but never interrupted in its regular current, by 
jocose incident or witty remark. So Chaucer— we may 
conclude — was little pleased with his work ; he put it aside, 
feeling that he could do something higher, but without 
any distinct sense of the future effectiveness of his comic 
talent. Old Pandarus in Troilas and Gryseyde, gave him 
the first opportunity for developing this side of his 
genius ; and after this successful budding, his humour 
unfolds itself into the most splendid bloom of the Middle 

Palamon and Arcite, although set aside for a time, was 
certainly never quite forgotten. Most likely, Chaucer 
always intended to do something with the poem, and adapt 
it, by some alteration or another, to his riper taste. Eut 
before he determined what to do with it, he made use of 
some of its passages, which could be easily separated from 
the story, and inserted them into other poems composed 
after this translation. So he put into Troilus ayid Cryseyde 
the stanzas on Arcite 's soul going to heaven ; and into the 
Parlament of Foules, the description of the garden and 
temple of Yenus. 

Ey this assertion, which I have already several times 
made, I oppose Prof. Ten-Erink's opinion on page 128 of 
his book : " If Chaucer had finished his first version of the 
Teseida before the Parlament of Foules, what would baye 
prevented him from more closely imitating (in the latter) 
that passage (on Yenus's temple, etc.) of which he seems 
to have been very fond % The termination of Palamon and 
Arcite must consequently be of a later date than the 
Parlament of Foulest Well, I have shown that Chaucer 
did imitate it as closely as he possibly could ; and so the 


conclusiDn contained in the above quotation is to be 
rejected. If then the Parlament of Foules is to be taken 
as a later production than the first edition of Palamon and 
Arcite, a: question naturally rises as to the date of the 
composition of that poem. 



Considering first its intrinsic qualities, we find in the 
Parlmnent a wealth of genius and humour, harmonious 
representation, fine and noble language, evidence of wide 
reading, a riper idea of love, than in any of Chaucer's 
earlier works. The last quality shows itself in the point of 
the piece : !N'ot idle protestations of love, but the inclination 
and free choice of the lady courted, must decide the con- 
test for her. These premisses are acknowledged more or 
less by all the critics ; thus Mr Furnivall in his Trial Fore- 
toords, says, p. 56 : "The Parlament is Chaucer's first real 
poem; in it his humour and fiin first ^ appear, and his 
love of JSTature is much developt." And yet it is spoken 
of as a juvenile production by Prof. Kissner in his 
Dissertation, p. 72 ; and Prof. Ten-Brink, by dating it 
1373, classes it in like manner. For although Chaucer w^as 
then past 30, the development of his genius must then be 
considered as still imperfect, still striving after some higher 

When we compare the characteristics of the Parlament 
of Foules with those of Troilus and Creseyde, the former 
poem manifests an author of far greater skill than that of 
the latter work, which, in spite of many^ successful 
passages of tenderness, of imagery, of the depths of lovers' 
woes, does display want of aptitude, a disharmony between 

* Mr Furnivall then dated the Parlamsnt after the Troilus. 
He now gladly accepts my later date, as removing the contradiction 
he had always felt between the power, closeness, and humour of the 
poem, and the weaker, looser, and less humourous Mars and 
Troilus, beautiful though the latter is. 

XII. Chaucer's troilus not from benoit de st more. 401 

pathos and humour, a looseness of structure, a want of 
grasp and self-restraint, ^ a feeling that the poet is often 
run away with by his materials, a conviction that he has 
not attained complete mastery of his work. Is it likely 
that Chaucer, after having overcome the contrast between 
realism and sentimentality in the Parlament of FouleSy 
should have again fallen back into a vain struggle between 
the two in his next production ? That would contradict 
all experience of development of character. 

Eut my doubt of the accuracy of the date generally 
accepted for this poem is still more confirmed by the words 
of the author himself. Among those personages who are 
represented in the temple of Yenus as types of amourous 
passion, we find (1. 291) Troylus, As the line in which 
this name occurs does not belong to the original fragment 
of Palamon and ArcUey as I have before tried to show, 
p. 369, it must have been added when Chaucer inserted this 
passage into the Parlament, and so it would prove that the 
latter poem was composed after the translation of Boccaccio's 
Filostrato, But there is a serious objection to this 
assumption. "Is it not possible," some one might suggest, 
" that Chaucer made the acquaintance of Troilus in Benoit 
de St More's Book of Troy % " Indeed, it is possible, if the 
proofs that Chaucer knew this poem sufficiently were 
strong enough. But, admitting this, is it not as possible 
that he had only been introduced to Benoit when he was 
translating the Filostrato ? And we must further consider 
that Troilus is too much in the background of Benoit's 
Trojan War to suggest the idea of a prominent sufferer for 
love's sake. As Mr Eossetti (p. vi, in his publication for 
the Chaucer Society) remarks, Diomed, not Troilus, appears 
as the chief hero of this affair. Benoit does not mention 
Troilus's affection towards Briseis, before the scene in which 
this young lady, being sent to the camp of the Greeks, 
takes leave of him. 

^ Compare the digressions on free-will, etc., etc. 

402 Chaucer's pablament is after his troilus. 

From these considerations it follows that Chaucer 
could scarcely have taken the name of Troilus from any- 
other source than Boccaccio's Filostrato ; and that he had 
at least read this poem when he wrote the Parlament of 
Fouler. But if we look at the last stanza of this latter 

work : 

" And with the showtynge whan hir song was do. 
That the foules made at her flyght away, 
I woke and other bookes toke me to 
To rede upon : and yet I rede alway. 
I hope ywyse to rede so somme day 
That I shal mete sommethyng for to fare 
The bet, and thus to rede I wol not spare ..." 

we see that Chaucer was searching for a new subject 
to work -on. If, however, he knew the Filostrato well 
enough to borrow from it the character of Troilus for his 
Parlament, and if he is, at the close of that poem, 
uncertain what to begin next, the most natural conclusion 
is, that he had not only read Boccaccio's poem, but had 
even finished the translation of it when he was writing 
the Parlament of Foules, 

But there are further reasons. In the stanza above- 
quoted, Chaucer speaks of his love for study ; and he does 
the same in the House of Fame (II, 144, etc.) ; which 
poem, according to Prof. Ten-Brink's most ingenious 
investigation, must have appeared soon after the Ti'oilus 
and Cryseyde, The chief points of the Professor's argu- 
ments (p. 114, etc.) are : "In the Yth. book, st. 257, of 
the Troilus, Chaucer calls the work he is just going to con^ 
elude a ' little tragedy,' and he expresses a wish to write 
a comedy too (both these terms, tragedy and comedy, being 
based on Dante's well known theory). ]^ow the House 
of Fame, when compared with Troilus and Cryseyde as 
a tragedy, has quite the character of a comedy. Hence it 
follows that, — ^if the 2 poems lie close together, as the best 
critics admit they do — ^the Fame must have been written 
after the Troilus ; otherwise Chaucer would here have 
e:xpressed^ at the end of the latter poem, a wish which was 


already fulfilled ! Furtlier, in Troilus and Gressida Chaucer 
announces his intention of composing a poem to praise and 
do homage to good women. This intention appears again 
much more clearly in the first hook of the House of Fame, 
in which he dwells upon the virtue of Dido as a contrast 
to that of Cryseyde, and enumerates several men who have 
betrayed their faithful mistresses. Thus he gives a kind 
of programme of the Legende of Good Wofneriy and refers 
his reader to the sources he used for this poem. The 
Prologue, to judge from the dedication of its second cast 
to Queen Anne of Bohemia, ^ cannot have been written 
before 1382, the House of Fame not later than 1384, 
because Chaucer complains in it of the burden of his 
Controller's office, of which he was not relieved till Feb. 
17, 1385, when he was allowd to appoint a permanent 
deputy to perform the duties of his chief ofiice. Therefore 
the Prologue to the Legende of Good Women must have 
originated between 1382 and -85 ; the House of Fame 
between 1381 and -84." 

So far Prof. Ten-Brink. JSTow, confronting the Parla^ 
ment of Foules with the House of Fame^ we shall see that 
in both poems Chaucer shows quite evidently that he has 
not only read the authors he quotes, but that he has 
studied them carefully,^ (I call the reader's attention to 
^^Galoxye," Pari, of F, 1. 56), whilst in his earlier pro- 
ductions he gives his originals' names, in order, as it seems, 
to cite some authority for his story or proverbial sentence. 
Also Prof. Ten-Brink finds, p. 129, a remarkable resem- 
blance between the Parlament and the House of Fame ; 
and their intrinsic qualities place them in the same period 
of Chaucer's poetical productiveness. Supposing the 
House of Fame to be the "comedy" our poet wished to 

^ The first cast in MS. Qi% 4. 27, Camb. Univ. Lib., does not 
mention her : see Mr FurnivalFs Odd Texts of €hmicer''s Minor 
Poems, Pt. I, 1871, p. 56-7. 

^ A reference like this to Scipio Africanus implies thorough 
knowledge of his Somniwn. 


404 .Chaucer's parlament is after his troilus, 

write, tlie Parlament of Foules would be a prelude, of it, a. 
kind of preparation for it. **I hope," he says, "I shal. 
mete somethyng for to fare the bet." Though he has 
finished this liiil^ Parlament, and has enriched it with fine 
descriptions and lively humour, he is not fully satisfied ; he 
is longing to prove his abilities in some greater work, one 
more worthy of his pains. He reads in order to find new 
thoughts, new motives, but he will no, longer rest content 
with the praise of being a skilful translator or adapter ; he 
feels within himself a poet's power. 

Does it seem likely that he would have expressed in 
those f general terms his wish to write a better work, when 
he was just translating the Teseida, as Prof. Ten-Brink 
assumes, or when he had already begun his Troilus and his 
Boethiu§ ? I should rather think that the Parlament of 
Foules was composed after all these works. It is either the 
last production of a former, or the first production of a new 
period ; it forms a kind of transition from Troilus and 
Gryseyde to the House of Fame, In it we again meet all 
the fictions which occupied Chaucer's thoughts in his 
foregoing writings. The whole is in the form of a vision, 
which idea was chiefly suggested to him in his originals by 
the Somnium Scvpionis. He parodies some passages of 
Dante's immortal Gommedla] but he does not ridicule 
them ; he smiles at this new vagary of his jolly humour. 
He brings in again his old friends, Boccaccio, Alain, Jehan 
de Meung, and Machault, from whom he learnt a good deal 
-of his art. And over the whole he sheds the genial light 
of his wonderful humour, newly risen and yet in full glow : 
the poem is a poetical miniature, in which — notwithstanding 
the mixture of aH those different elements — a genius grown 
up to independency manifests itself. 

Hitherto I have neglected a feature of the Parlament of 
J^owZe^ which all commentators on our poet have seen in it. 
Ten-Brink, says on this point (p. 129) : " Undoubtedly the 
Parlament of Foules represents the wooing of a person of 


high rank, crossed, as it seems, by rivals and by impediments 
of other kinds." He therefore calls it an "occasional 
poem." But in this case we must separate from the above 
name the meaning of a " dedication," which is generally 
connected with it. For, considering that the answer of the 
lady courted is still wanting, and consulting the last stanza 
mentioned above, the concluding words of which would 
have been no compliment to the dedicatee, we must deny 
any relation of this sort. Still, it remains highly probable 
that the poem had a certain reference to a marriage in the 
circle of the English court. 

Several suggestions^ have been made to explain this 
matter, but all without success. Tyrwhitt thought of John 
of Gaunt ; but, as Prof. Ten-Brink shows, the Parlament 
of Foules must^ fr^ni its many connections with Italian 
poets and poetry, have been written after the year 1372, 
when Chaucer first went to Italy and had become 
acquainted with its language ^ and literature; and as the 
marriage of John took place as early as 1359, this 
hypothesis is no longer admissible. 

Mr Eurnivall, after a long refutation, in his Trial 
Foretcords^ of the claims of Ingelram de Coucy to be the 
poem's hero, avows : " Heroine and hero of the Parlament 
of Foules are still to seek." But in what direction have 
we to look for light in this darkness? Certainly our 
poem alludes to a marriage in the royal family : but what 
marriage can be meant 1 

Weil, if the date I have adopted for this poem (a.d. 
1381) is acknowledged as the right one, there will be little 
difficulty in discovering a certain courtship as its centre. 
But we must first take a chronological retrospect. Except 

' The latest is Mr Fleay's, of the corpse of the infant princess 
Mary of France ! Mr Fleay dates the Parlament 1378, and makes 
its heroine the Princess Mary ( Guide to Chaucer and Spenser, p. 
38), not having taken the trouble to ascertain that she died, aged 
7, in 1377.— F. J. F. 

^ Was he not sent there for the very reason that he knew the 
language before he was sent 2 — F . J. F. 


as to the Parlament, I fallow strictly Prof. Ten-Brink, 
and fix tlie dates for the works of the so-called Second 
Period thus: 1^13, Lyfe of seynt Cecile ; about 1374-76, 
Falamonand Arcite ; 1376-80, Chaucer's numerous travels 
to the continent, each interrupt his poetical productiveness, 
so that he is unable to write more than his translation of 
BoetMus, and perhaps the first four books of Troilus and 
Cryseyde, In 1380, he devotes himself entirely to study, so 
far as the duties of his office allow, and writes the last book of 
Troilus, which towards its end indicates that a new epoch 
in Chaucer's development is attained. 1381. Immediately 
after it, he writes the' Parlament of Foides ; and not much 
later, perhaps even before 1382, the House of Fame, 

So I have reached — and methinks quite naturally — the 
year 1381 as the date for the Parlament And in this 
year King Eichard of England ^ sent his ambassadors to 
Germany to woo Anne of Bohemia for him. 

* In 1381 he was the only marriageable member of the vciy^ 
family of England, which alone Chaucer was likely to write a 
poem about. Prince Lionel, Buke of Clarence, having been twice 
marrid (1352 and 1368), died in 1368. In 1372 (Anderson's 1371 
(?01d Style), Barnes, Bist. of Edw. Ill, p. 824), John of Gaunt 
marrid his 2nd wife, the elder daughter, Constance, and his younger 
brother, Edmund of Langlej^ Earl of Cambridge, (Duke of York 
in 1383), marrid the younger daughter, Isabella, of Pedro the Cruel, 
late King of Castille and Leon. (Edmund's first treaty of marriage 
with Margaret of Flanders in 1364, was thrown up in 1369.) 
Thomas of Woodstock, Eari of Buckingham (and Duke of Gloucester 
in 1385) marrid in or about 1374 (48 Edw. Ill, see Dugdale's 
Baronage^ vol. i (1676), p. 169), a minor, and ward of the King^s 
(whose son she would not have been allowd to refuse), Eleanora, 
daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, who at- 
taind her full age in 3 Eich. II.— June 1379 to June 1380. — (Ed- 
ward the Black Prince, who marrid Joan of Kent, died in 1376. 
William of Hatfield, Edw. Ill's 2nd son, died in 1336. William 
of Windsor died young.) The Princess Isabella, Edw. Ill's eldest 
daughter, marrid the young Lord Ingelram de Guisnes (or Courcy, 
afterwards Earl of Bedford) in 1365. Edward's 2nd daughter, 
Joanna (Blanch died young), was contracted to Pedro the Cruel, 
afterwards King of Castille, but died of the plague at Bourdeaux 
in 1349, before being mamd. The 3rd daughter, Mary, marrid 
John de Mountfort, Duke of Britany, in 1361. And the 4th, 
Margaret, marrid John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke, in 1359. 
Philippa, the daughter of Prince Lionel, was born on Aug. 16, 1355, 
and was thus 13 at her father's death in 1368, " about which time " 


Eroissart/ in his Chronicle, tells us that Sir Simon Burley 
was sent by King Eichard to the Emperour Wenceslas of 
Bohemia for this purpose, because all his subjects wished 
that their lord should soon conclude a marriage worthy of an 
English king. Pelzel in his Life of Wenceslas^ I, lOly 
writes as follows : "About this time (January, 1381) had 
arrived plenipotentiaries from King Eichard of England, 
who were dispatched the year before, on the 26 th of 
December, from London. These ambassadors were com- 
missioned to ask Princess Anna, the sister of King Wetzel, 
to be the spouse of their lord, the king (Eich. 11. ). The 
proposal was accepted so much more willingly, as the 
match with the house of Misnia, that Anna was engaged to, 
had heen broken off on account of Mayence, and as Princess 
Anna had already reached the age to choose herself a 

husband , Princess Anna, therefore, appointed three 

plenipotentiaries, to whom she gave full power to conclude 
a marriage between her and King Eichard, etc. . , . ." 

In the same book, p. 108, Pelzel says that: "In 
August, 1381, these ambassadors had arrived in England.*' 
And at p. 110, he relates that Anna was engaged as early 
as 1371 to a Prince of Bavaria; and in 1373, when she 
was seven years of age, to a margrave of Misnia — as already 
mentioned in the above quotation. 

the king gave her in marriage to Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March 
(Sandford's Royal Genealogies). Of Princess Isabella's children, 
Mary, born in April 1366, marrid Henry de Barr in 1383 (? : Mrs 
Green misprints 1303), and died in 1404. Philippa, born in 1367, 
was betrothd in 1371 to Eobert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, and the 
*' marriage was effected in 2 Ric. II," June 1379 to June 1380 
(Collins's House of De Vere). Their 5 children were, 1. Roger, 
Earl of March, born 1374 (marrid Eleonora, daughter of Thomas 
Earl of Kent, in (?), and died 1398) ; 2. Sir Edmond marrid a na- ' 
tural daughter of Owen Glendower in (?) ; 3. Sir John (died 1424) ; 
4. Elizabeth, born at Usk in 1371, marrid Henry Hotspur, Lord 
Percy ; 5. Philippa, who had 3 husbands, John, Earl of Arundel ; 
Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel, and John, Lord St John, — 
■ Anderson, p. 743, 744; Betham, Table, 606, 607. — F. J. F. 

^ Sir John Froissart's Chronicles translated by Thomas Johnes, 
1804, II, 542. 

^ Lebensgeschichte des romischen und bohmischen Konigs 
Wenzeslaus . . . von Fi-anz Martin Pelzel. 


^ow the italic passages above correspond wonderfiilly 

with the leading cifcumstances of Chaucer's Parlament : 

in King Eichard and the two German princes we may 

recognise three Eagles wooing the f ormel ; and the advice 

of Dame !N"atiire ; 

V. 620 : "... this ys my conclusyoun — ^ 

That she hir selfe shal have hir eleccioun 
Of whom hir lyste . . ," 

and the wish of the forniel : 

V. 648 : " I aske 

. , , . to have my choys al fre , . ." 

seem to allude to the fact that Anne had now become of 

age.^ Considering at the same time that Chaucer was in 

such close relation to the royal family; that he, in his 

Legende of Good Women, praises this same Anne of 

Bohemia as the noblest and most virtuous of her sex;^ 

and that he dedicates his Legende to her ; the more likely 

it will appear to us that he expresses in the Parlament his 

wish for the happy success of his king's courtship, and his 

sympathy for the future wife of his lord. . We may well 

suppose that he wrote the Parlament of Foules on 

St Yalen tine's day, 1381, on which day the session of the 

birds is said to have taken place. Eor abput this time the 

result of the embassy to King Wenceslaa must have been 

still unknown in England, and people most likely had not 

a very clear notion as to the state of affairs in Germany. 

By accepting this opinion, Chaucer's deviations from the 

real situation of matters will easily be explained. Eor, in 

fact, the Prince of Bavaria was no longer a competitor with 

King Eichard, since his match had already been broken 

off for years. Further, Chaucer speaks of 'a year's delay 

wished for by the courted lady. This seems a mere 

fiction^ — for if he wrote the Parlament of Foules on or 

^ That is, I suppose, 14. She was 15. - 

^ I assume that she, and not Chaucer's own mistress, is the 

Lady praised in the Prologue. 

^ Yet Froissart's words give it some countenance. He saj^s in 

Johnes's translation, II, 681 : '• Chapter Lxxxvi. The Emperor 


about St Yalentine's day (wBich, I think, is the most 
likely assumption), he could scarcely have learnt the 
answer of the Bohemian princess so early, considering that 
the ambassadors arrived at her court only at the end of 
January. Finally it is to be noticed that a poetical work 
does not pretend to be a chronicle. The situation and 
general circumstances of this courtship gave Chaucer the 
idea for this poem ; he wrote it as a kind of prophecy, not 
as a liistoxleal song. He who is not contented to look at 
tie beauties of a poetical work from a distance, but 
intrudes sacrilegiously into its interior, will always be 

Thus, in spite of these digressions from reality, I believe 
that King Eichard's courtship alone can be alluded to in 
the Parlament of Foules. 



I hope I shall not exhaust the reader's patience by 
adding a few observations on other doubtful points cipn- 
eerning our poet. 

First about the presumptive date of Queue Anelida and 
the False Arcite, This poem has also received some stanzas 
of the first version of Palamon and- Arcite, as we, following 
the arguments of Prof. Ten-Brink, have already seen. This . 
writer then states — and I think so that no doubt can 
remain — that this work is to be reckoned among the latest 
productions of Chaucer ; but I cannot agree with him in 
his determination of its exact date. 

Winceslaus sends his sister Anne to King Eichard of England, who 
makes her his Queen. — ^You have heard how king Richard of 
England had/<?r upwards of a year been in treaty with Winceslaus 
king of Bohemia, who at this period had taken the title of emperor 
of Eome, to obtain his sister the lady Anne in marriage ; and how 
one of his knights, sir Simon Burley, had much laboured in this 
business; and also that the duke of Saxony had been in England 
to confirm the marriage.'' " She was married to the king in the 
chapel of the palace of Westminster, the twentieth day after 
Christmas," Jan. 14, 1382.— F. J. F. 


He says in Ms ^^ Studien,'^ p. 56: *'When Chancer 
had turned his first version of Palamon and Amite into 
another metre, and thereby into another foraiy for the 
Canterhury Tales,, the thought rose in him to versify the 
story of Anellda and Arcite, to put it into relation to some 
elements of the story of Palamooi and Arcite, and to make 
use of the opening stanzas of the previous version, which 
he withdrew from further circulation, for this new work . . 
.... The continuation of the new work, however^ soon 
came to a standstill, and was not puhlisht before Chaucer's 
death as a fragment." But as I have tried to show before, 
that Chaucer had rejected the first version of FaJamon and 
Arcite on his own account, because it no longer agreed with 
his riper taste, and that he afterwards from time to time 
inserted some of its pieces into other poems, my judgment 
on the date of Quene Anelida must take a different 

Quene Anelida and the Fahe Arcite is a fragment, in 
fact, and it is hardly possible to draw any certain con- 
clusions from it. But Chaucer, it seems to me, had intended 
to remould his Palamon and Arcite in this poem, perhaps 
by reversing its motive. Instead of depicting, as in the 
original, the passion of two men for one lady, he meant 
to represent two ladies in love with one knight. This new 
story would then have been conceived in the same sense 
and with the same view as the Legende of Good Women : 
he intended m it to rept^esent, how ill, true love is often 
requited by men. Therefore both poems would beloug to 
the same period, 1382-5. And for accessories of his new 
subject he had intended to use the descriptive pieces of 
Palamon and, Arcite which were still at his disposal. I 
come to this conclusion from the beginning of the poem, 
and from its last stanza now extant, to the bearing of 
which I believe I am the first to call the reader's attention. 
Chaucer, after having related the complaint of the unlucky 
queen, says : 

XII. DR J* KOCH. Chaucer's use of • lollius,' &c. ^11 

"...... sythe slie gan to ryse 

And unto Mars amweth sacrifyse 
Within the temple, with a sorouful chere, 
That schajpen was, as ye may plainly herey 

Here, I think, lie at first meant to add the description of 
Mars's temple from Palamon and Arcite ; and if he had 
done so, we should have received another unmodified 
fragment of the first version. He broke off here, probablj 
because his sad fate towards the end of the eighth decennary 
— after 1386 — about which time this fragment might have 
been vrritten, deprived him of every delight in poetical 
productiveness. But he did not continue his work when 
his situation improved, because meanwhile the plan for the 
Canterbury Tales had occupied his mind, and he now 
found a better use for the Teseida. Taking into con- 
sideration the concluding stanza, quoted above, I believe 
my suggestion is better founded than that of Prof. Ten- 
Brink. [The Anelida is surely before 1385; and before 
1382, I think.]— E. J. F. 

a. ON Chaucer's use of " lollius," and non-use of 
Boccaccio's name. 

h, chaucer and boccaccio's decamebone. 

Another much discussed question is : " "Why does 
Chaucer always quote other names instead of Boccaccio's ? '* 
The explanations Prof. Ten-Brink and others give, are 
scarcely sufficient to account for the so-called caprice of 
Chaucer, according to which he constantly conceals the 
true name of the poet to whom he is most indebted for the 
subjects of his own poems. He, indeed, in a few instances 
quotes wrong sources, as Herr Hertzberg (p. 42, note 67, 
of his Canterbury Geschichten) shows : Lucan ((7. T. 4820, 
14, 637), Livius (ib. 11935), Suetonius (14, 383), Livius 
again in the Legende of Good Womeii, 1. 1629, instead of 
Ovid, Fast. Ill, 75, etc. ; {Gesta. Rom. m G. T. 5546 

413 xiL Chaucer's non-use of boccaccio's name. 

and 6225 are uncertain), and several times. Ptolemais' 
Almagest But lie quotes rightly: Statius, Tliehais XII, 
519, etc., in Q. Anelida, 1. 21. Juvenalis X, 22 in C. T. 
6773; Gicero Divin. II, 27 in C. T, 14990. Macrobius, 
Somn, Scip, ih, 15130, Seneca de Ira I, 14 and 16, ib. 
7625, 7600; Claudian Rapt Pros. II, ih, 10106; YirgH's 
Aeneis, ih, 15,365; Ovidii Metam, ih. 4513; Gate Dist 
II, 32, ib. 14946;. the Maccabees, ib. 14574; Dante, /&. 
14771, Petrarch in several other places ; further quotations 
•from the Fathers are pointed out by Tyrwhitt, etc. From 
this list we see at once that the right quotations over- 
balance the erroneous ones; and though Chaucer, hj 
chance or by mistake^ Jiow ^aid iten mpp^trs i;o show 
indiSerenee on this point, we liave no right to impute 
capricious intention to him. The more striking, therefore, 
is the circumstance that he always avoids naming Boccaccio. 
We have, however, no foundation for supposing that he 
wished to set himseK up as the inventor of the stories he 
borrowed from the Italian poet. On the contrary, Chaucer, 
like every other author in the Middle Ages, holds it 
necessary to quote, as much as possible, authorities for his 
tales, in order to show that they are not idle inventions or 

To think of a personal animosity of Chaucer, against 
Boccaccio, is sljli less aidmsm^bie, because nowhere does the 
least hint of such a feeling occur. The only explanation, 
therefore, is, to assume that Chaucer, though he knew that 
Boccaccio wrote poems, did not know his name, or that of 
the author of the MSS. he, Chaucer, had bought. 

Every one who has workt at Middle- Age MSS. must 
have noticed that the pieces in them are often anonymous ; 
sometimes they usurp a wrong name, sometimes the 
indications are so indefinite and incorrect that we are at a 
loss to decide who is meant by them. Many MSS. 
contain different writings by different authors, of different 
periods and in different languages, copied by different 


hands. Instances are abundant. Thus we can imagine 
that when Chaucer bought in Italy the Divina Commedia, 
or the Sonnets of Petrarch, he found in the same MS. 
pieces by an author unknown to him, or rather pieces 
without a title and without the name of their author : the 
Tesdda, the Filostrato, and De Claris Mulierihus, I^ow 
it would be absurd to assert that Chaucer had never heard 
Boccaccio praised ; but it is not impossible that he only 
heard his name mentioned in Italy, without having the 
opportunity of seeing his works with his name and 
under their right title. About the time our poet was 
staying there, Boccaccio had retired to Certaldo, where he 
lived in seclusion, occupied with his Latin writings, until 
he was again called to Florence in 1373, when Chaucer 
ina;y have left this town. So the Italian friends of our 
poet did not speak so much of Boccaccio,. as of Dante and 
Petrarch ; and Chaucer had so much to do with reading 
and studying the works of these two men, that he was 
unable to make, besides, acquaintance with the former one. 
At Chaucer's second visit to Italy in 1378, Boccaccio was 

All that I have said on this point may seem little more 
than guess-work ; but if we consider the insignificant and 
uncertain knowledge of literature, in Chaucer's time, and 
the entire want of criticism, my suggestion will not appear 
too hazardous. Similarly Chaucer's adoption of "LolHus " 
can be explained; for, as I remarked above, the 'MSS. 
often give wiong names of authors ; and so our poet might 
have found, somewhere among his specimens, the notice : 
"Hie incipit Lollius\" or something of the kind; and 
thinking it to be the genuine name, employed it afterwards 
in his quotations. To introduce Horace here, as Dr 
Latham and Prof. Ten-Brink have done, seems rather a 
doubtful thing to do, because, so far as I know, there is no 
further sign that Chaucer had really read Horace. 

' A suggestion of Mr H. Ward, if I remember rightlj'". 


That he in other places also cites Statius, Petrarch, and 
Corinne,. instead of Boccaccio, is not difficult to account 
for. Eor, as to the former, we know that he really did 
make use of him in the beginning of Quene Anelida ; and 
since Chaucer is not very careful as to his quotations, 
he cited Statius too where he in fact borrowed from 
another source, particularly as Statius has a certain relation 
to the subject treated. The same is to be said about his 
having employed Petrarch's name in the Monk's Tale, As 
to Corrine, in Qvsne Anelida, st. 3, lie may have chosen 
this name merely for the sake of the ryme. 

At any rate, there is no necessity for explaining^ 
Chaucer's having passed over Boccaccio's name in silence, 
by supposing a strange, unaccountable caprice on his part. 

K Finally, a word about the question: ^'Did Chaucer 
take his plan for the Ganterlmry Tales from Boccaccio's 
Decamerone ? The common opinion is that he did so ; for it 
is alleged that Chaucer knew and made use of several other 
works of Boccaccio ; and the arrangement and style of the 
Decamerone bear some resemblance to the English pilgrim's 
tales. But here I wish to make a grave objection : If 
Chaucer had derived his plot from this source, would he 
not most likely have translated some of its racy novelle 
instead of inserting former tales of his own into his book 1 
Some of the tales, indeed, do resemble certain stories in 
the Decamerone. They are not, however, borrowed directly 
from it, but have a common source in old French Fabliaux. 
ISTames and localities, therefore, differ. Yet if Chaucer had 
taken the stories, or any one of them, from Boccaccio's 
book, he would most likely have imitated his ^original 
much more closely, as he did in all the other cases where 
his sources have been clearly made out. If he had known 
the Decamerone, would he not have inserted at least one of 
its stories, more exactly translated, into his Canterhury 
Tales ? 

In an his numerous productions, however, there is no 


distinct trace whatever that lie was really acquainted with 
the Decamerone ; there is only a slight resemblance in the 
general plan. M. Sandras, in his Etude sur Chaucer, p. 
135, suggests the Disciplina Clericalis or The Seven Sages 
as sources from which our poet might have taken his idea 
of connecting a series of stories. But I do not know of a 
single instance which proves that Chaucer made use of 
either of these works. My opinion therefore is, that the 
plot of the Canterbury Tales emanated from our poet 
himself. Why are we to believe that Chaucer was 
incapable of originating such an idea 1— he, the founder of 
the new English metrical and rhythmical art, the creator 
of a standard English language, the father of humour, the 
greatest genius of his country in the Middle Agesl^ 



As I learn that the investigations made laj Herr 
Hertzberg and Professor Scherk to discover the presumptive 
date of the Canterbury Journey are little known to the 
English Chaucer student, I feel sure he will be glad to see 
a translation of this highly interesting argument, which 
we in Germany accept as establishing the date of the 
journey in the year 1393, ^lyq years later than the 1388 in 
which Englishmen believe. Herr Hertzberg, at p. ^^^ 
of his Canterhury-Geschichten, when commenting on the 

* See too how, as a friend says, Chaucer's early poems, with 
their Proem and Story, work naturally up, through the Zegende 
with its Prologue and collection of Stories, to the Canterl)ury 
Tales, with their famous Prologue and collection of Tales, so many 
of the latter, too, like the Legend^ s, of the woes of women, 
loving and betrayd. The hint also of the gathering of repre- 
sentatives of all English classes into one company may, if needed, 
have come to him from English ground, as Prof. Seeley suggests 
(Chaucer Society's Eeport, 1873, p. 7), for it is in the opening of 
his great contemporarj^, William's, Vision of the Ploughman, 
Christ.— F. J. F. 


Parson's Prologue, or Blank-Parson Link, states first, that 

Chaucer is always to be relied upon w^hen fixing the time 

of events by astronomical constellations, and that we have 

not, therefore, the least reason to doubt the exactness of 

his observation. Prof. Scherk, he continues, says as 

foUows: "The 28th of April of the old style (the date 

given in the Man of Law's Prologue, 11. 5, 6) corresponds, 

at the end of the 14th century, with the 6th of May of 

the new style. Suppose the vernal equinox to have taken 

place on the 21st of March, 46 days will have elapsed by 

May the 6th, in which interval the sun has accomplished 

a journey of 46. (0°, 9S565) = 45°, 34, and is in W, 34 of 

the sign, of the Bull. Suppose the moon to be in the 

middle of the sign of the Balance,^ consequently 150° 

distant from the sun. Let the sun have travelld, since the 

last new moon, over the arc x ; then the moon has passed 

through 150° +ic; and as the mean daily motion of the 

moon is 13°, 1764, the ratio is 150^+ x: x= 13.17640: 

0.98565; whence it follows that x^ 12°, 1. Thus the 

moon, since the new moon has accomplished 162°,1, for 

which distance it uses 12, 3 days; consequently the new 

moon set in on the 28-12 = 16th of April of the old 

style = 24th of April of the new style. The uncertainty 

of this result is about +_ 1 day, of which the chief cause is, 

that the moon may stand either at the point of entering 

or leaving the sign of the Balance, which it passes through' 

in 2i days. 

In the year 1864 the new moon fell on the 6th of 

April, consequently 18 days earlier. Trying now at first, 

if the year of the event in question be 1400, we do not 

find, for the period from the 24th of April, 1400, till the 

6th of April, 1864, a fuU number of sy nodical months, 

but there is a difference of about 11 days. This induces 

us to go back 7 years, because in them there is a yearly 

* Thervvith the mones exaltation, 
In mene Libra, alway gan ascende. 

Perso?ies Prologue, 11. 10, 11, ed. Tyrwhitt. 


rest of 11 days. Thus, with those surplus 11 days, we 
have in the whole 88 days, which is about equal to 
3 synodical months. Indeed, we shall find now that the 
471 years from 1393 to 1864,— the length of the tropical 
year being according to Bessel (Schumacher's Astronom. 
Naclirichten, 1828, K 133), 365 d. 5 h. 48' 47/'9 = 365 d. 
24221, — contain 172029.08 days, From these, counting 
from the new moon on the 6th of April, 1864, the above- 
mentioned 18 days are to be deducted. The remainder is 
172011.08 days, which, — as the length of the synodical 
month is 29 days, 12 hours, 44', 2", 87 = 29 d. 53,— are 
equal to 5828 synodical months, the surplus of gVW 
month — \\ dayy lying between the limits of uncertainty 
of the moon's place. Consequently the event in question 
took place on the 28th of April, 1393." 

[The above argument depends trgon the false assumption 
that Chaucer, in his Mai^ of Law's Tale, mentions the 28th 
of April. But this date is a mere miswriting of the scribe 
of the-EHesmere MS.^, who has expanded the xviij of the 
five other MSS. in the Six-Text into ** eight and twentithe " 
instead of *^ eightetene." Mr Brae has shewn that the latter 
day is right ; and, indeed, any one can see, after a very 
hasty consideration, that, in choosing between 18 and 28, 
we need not hesitate a moment. Chaucer tells us that the 
sun had just run a half -course in the Kam. This half- 
course was completed on the 1 1th of April. The sun next 
began a half-couvse in the Bull, lasting from the 12th to 
the 27th. On the 27th, this half-course w^as done, and a 
second half -course in the Bull begun ; so that the reading 
"ramme" becomes meaningless. As the assumed date 
(28th) is plainly wrong, the arguments founded upon it 
crumble to pieces. See Mr Brae's edition of Chaucer's 
Astrolabe, to which add my own notes. 

Walter W. Skeat.] 

^ Some few other MSS. have the same mistake. 



A fragment from MS. D. 4. 18, ISTo. 7, Trin. Coll., 
Dublin (? of Hen. VI's time). (Printed before by Dr David 
Laing, in Reliquioi Antiquce (1843), ii. 11, and now re- 
collated with the MS. by Prof. Atkinson of Trin. Coll., 


This Palamon in his bed lay, 
And herd Emlyn syng so dowcetly, 
])at unto his brother he gan say, 
*^ Jpere^ is my love and my lady ] " 

Goyng merely in a garden grene, 
Singyng herself, this lady bright, 
She ravisshed bothe the herte^, I wene, 
Of Palamon and his brother Ersyte. 

" Syr Palamon, it is my name ; 
And for this lady I here gret blame, 
In preson stronge, Emlyn I chese, 
Unto my love and my maystres." 


thou Emlyne, thi fayrenes 

Brought Palamon and Ersyte in gret distresse, 
In a garden) wha?^ thou didist syng 
So fresshely in a May mornyng. 

*•' I, Ersyte, wM my brother lay, 
Palamon, wha?^ he chese this may : 

1 had, or he, of her a sighte ; 

Jperfore I chalenge hir be^ righte." (ends.) 
Were, Beliq. Ant, ^ wrongly ' to ', in Meliq, Ant, 

Dr, Furnivall hopes to complete the issues for 
1884 and 1885 in August next 


lb W0tbs.atib mmU 


XIII. Chaucee's Pardoner and the Pope's Pardoners. 
By Dr. J. J. Jusserand, p. 421. 

XIV. Why '^The Eomaunt of the Eose" is not Chaucer's. 
By the Rev. Prof. W. W. Skeat, M.A., LL.D., p. 437. 

XV. Chaucer's Schipman and his Barge '-The Maudelayne," with 
Notes on Chaucer's Horses. By P. Q. Karkeek, M.E.C.S.; 
L.S.A., of Torquay, Devon, p. 453. . 

XVI. Dissertation on " The Parson's Tale," and the " Somme 
de Vices et de Vertus " of Fr^re Lorens. By Wilhelm 
EiLERS, Ph.D., englishtf p. 601. 

XVII. On Chaucer's Eeputed Works. By T. L. Kington- 
Oliphant, M.A., p. 611. 











THEname of tlie Pardoner is familiar enough ; the vivid 
pictures- of Chaucer and Langland are well known, and 
have made for us old acquaintances of the strange beings 
who sold centuries of indulgences to our forefathers. But 
it niay be remarked thatthe picture being indeed too familiar, 
its very strangeness has partly come to be overlooked, and 
few think to inquire whether so extraordinary a part as the* 
one played by tha man of Rouncivale can well have been 
ever played in the real life of any age. In that way a kind 
of unconscious belief creeps into most minds, viz., that half 
the description does not after all give the idea of anything 
very extraordinary, a-nd that the other half may be mere 

Perhaps it will be found useful to record here a few 
indisputable facts, showing that there is not the slightest 
exaggeration in Chaucer, that he knew well the Pardoners 
of his time, and described them exactly as they were, and 
that he did not add a word, not justified by what he saw, 
in order to win our laughter or to enliven his description. 
It seems that when his minute accuracy is proved so far as 
the most monstrous and, so to speak, unlikely of his heroes 
is concerned, it will be very difficult to challenge, on the 
mere ground of unlikeliness, any of his less strange portraits. 
When Mandeville spoke of trees he had seen which grew 
wool, the people of his time wondered, and the men of a 
following and more enlightened age laughed at the fabri- 
cator of such fabulous stories : fortunately, however, the 
cotton-tree outHved the laughers. The same may be borne 

2 E 2 

424 Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 

in mind as regards Chaucer, and it will be found that his 
Pardoners, though not less strange, are not less real than 
Mandeville's marvellous trees. 

First, it is to be remembered that there were authorised 
pardoners or qucestores, otherwise quoesiiarii, as the mediaeval 
Latin has it, whose business was minutely regulated by popes 
and bishops, and who, having real bulls with real seals to 
show, were entrusted by the head of the Church with the 
care of remitting, for money, not the sins themselves, but 
part or the whole of the penance imposed for sins. The 
man must be repentant, and have duly confessed his 
faults ; the money he paid to the pardoner was only a kind 
of commutation of his penance. That money was to be 
sent over to the papal or episcopal treasury, and was very 
* often applied to the best imaginable purposes, such as the 
repair of roads and bridges, the building of hospitals, etc. 
The authorised pardoners were provided with patents on 
which the visa of the bishop of the place was to be added. 
Such was the rule. Exceptions soon became exceedingly 
numerous, and the rule was accordingly almost forgotten. 
'Hence we have, amongst others, a papal letter, coaeval with 
the Canterbury Tales, in which all the same abuses as are 
mentioned in Chaucer's poem are strongly denounced. 

Those pardoners were, as Boniface IX. ^ declares in 1390, 
sometimes friars, and sometimes clerks belonging to the 
regular clergy, always men of excessive impudence. They 
dispensed with the ecclesiastical licence, and wandered like 
pedlars from one district to another, trafficking in pardons. 
Their calling was profitable, and there was muck compe- 
tition in it ; the success of authorised pardoners attracted a 
crowd of others, who were really vagabonds and highway- 
men, with no character to lose, and who boldly carried on 
their trade of imposture. Chaucer's Pardoner earned a 
hundred marks a year ; and this is easily understood, since 

^ Annales Ecclesiastlci ; torn, vii, p. 525 of Eaynaldus' con- 

Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 425 

lie had asked for no licence, and liad no account to render, 
biit kept all his gains to himself. The Pope, in more 
measured language, says as much as the poet. His letter 
tells us, in the first place, that these pardoners swore that 
they were sent by the court of Eome : 

" . . . . quidam religiosi diversorum etiam mendicantium 
ordinum, et nonnuUi clerici sseeulares etiam in dignitatibus 
constituti, asserentes se a nobis aut a diversis legatis seu 
nuntiis sedis apostolicae missos et ad plura peragenda ne- 
gotia diversas facultates habere, per partes in quibus es 
pro nobis et Ecclesia Eomana Thesaurarius deputatus, 

The personage described by Chaucer, who is constantly 
inveighing against avarice, does in fact come from Eome •^ : 

.... a gentle Pardoner .... 
That streyt was comen from the court of Rome 

I preche no thing but for coveitise .... 
What ? trowe ye, whiles that I may preche 
and Wynne gold and silver for I teche, 
That I wil lyve in povert wilfully ? 
Kay, nay.* 

The Pope goes on to say that it is thus that they pro- 
claim in the presence of believing people, wbo are not on 
their guard, their actual or supposed authorisation : 

" . . . . veras vel prsetensas quas se habere dicunt facul- 
tates fideli et simplici populo nunciant, et irreverenter veris 
hujusmodi facultatibus abutentes, suas fimbrias, ut vel sic 
turpem et infamem qusestum faciant, inipudenter dilatant, 
et non veras et prsetensas facultates hujusmodi mendaciter 

What has the poet to say ? He tells us that the charlatan 
has always fine things to show; that be knows, how to 
deceive the simple ; that his wallet is full of parchments 
with, fair seeming signatures, which are doubtless forged; 
that the common people look on and wonder, while the 
parish priest is furious, although silent : 

^ Prologue of the Canterhvry Tales, 
* The Pardoner's Prologue. 

426 Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 

First I pronounce whennes that I come, 

and thanne my bulles schewe I alle and some ; 

Oure liege lordes seal upon my patent 

That schewe I first my body to warent, 

That no man he so hardy, prest ne clerk 

Me to destourjbe of cristes holy werk. 

and after that than tel I forth my tales. 

Bulles of popes and of cardynales, 

Of patriarkes and of bisshpps I schewe, 

and in Latyn speke I wordes fewe 

To savore with my predicacioun 

And for to stere men to devociotm.* 

l!^or is the " turpem et infamem qusestum " of wMch 
tlie Pontiff speaks, forgotten : 

.Now, good men, God foryeve yow your trespas, 

And ware yow fro the synne of avarice. 

Myn holy pardoun may you alle warice, 

So that ye offren noblis or starlinges, 
. Or elles silver spones broches or rynges, 

Bowith your hedes under this holy bulle,^ 

The apostolic letter goes on : 

" . . . . cum etiam pro qualibet parva pecuniarum sum- 
mula, non poenitentes, sed mala conscientia satagentes 
iniquitati suae, quoddam mentitse absolutionis velamen prse- 
tendere, ab atrocibus delictis, nulla vera contritione, nulla- 
que debita prsecedenti forma (ut verbis illorum utamnr) 

So again Chaucer : 

Thay wol come up and offre in Goddes name, 
And I assoile hem by the auctorite 
Which that by buUe was irgraimted me.^ 

I yow assoile by myn heyh power, 

If ye woln offre, as clene and eek als cler 

As ye were born."* 

It is evident that these self-appointed pardoners were 
troubled with few scruples, and knew how to profit by those 
of others. They released their clients from all sort of vows, 
and so their affairs prospered in proportion to the number 
of interdicts, prohibitions, and penances which were ini- 
posed. They passed their time in undoing what was done 

* Prologue of the Pardoner. ^ The Pardoner's Tale. 

^ Prologue of the Pardoner. * The Pardoner's Tale. 

Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jqsserand. 427 

hj the clergy, and that without doing good to any but 
themselves. Thus, says the Pope : 

" . . . . cum etiam. .... castitatis, abstinentiae, pere- 
grinationis ultramarinse, seu beatorum Petri et Pauli de Urbe 
aut Jacobi in Compostella apostolorum, et alia qusevis vota 
levi compensatione commutent ; de hseresi vel schism ate 
nominatim aut incidenter condemnatos, absque eo quod in 
debita forma abjurent, et quantum possunt debite satis- 
faciant, non tantum absolvant, sed in integrum restituant ; 
cum illegitime genitis, ut ad ordines et beneficia promoveri 
possint, et intra gradus prohibitos copulatis aut copu- 
landis dispensent, et eis qui ad partes infidelium absque 
sedis prsedictse licentia transfretarunt, vel merces prohibitas 
detuierunt et etiam qui Eomanas aut aliarum ecclesiarum 
possessiones jura et bona occuparunt, excommunicationis 
et aHas sententias et poenas et quaevis interdicta relax- 
ent, et indulgentiam quam felicis recordationis Urbanus 
Papa VI. prsedecessor noster christifidelibus certas basilicas 
et ecclesias dictse urbis instanti anno visitantibus concessit, 
et quae in subsidium Terr^ Sanct^ accedentibus conce- 
duntur, quibusvis elargiri pro nihilo ducant. " 

It may be remarked that, according to the Pontiff him- 
self, they left very little to be done, and his list of their 
doings is fuller even than Chaucer's. Finally, they asserted 
that they received all this money in the name of the apos- 
tolic see : 

" . ... cum etiam .... quaestum quern exinde percipi- 
unt, nomine cameras apostolicse se percipere asserant et 
nuilam de illo nihilominus rationem velle reddere vide- 
antur. Horret et merito indignatur animus talia reminisci." 

They went still further than this, and Pope Boniface 
IX. mentions a curious fact not to be found in Chaucer ; 
they united together and formed private associations to 
abuse the public confidence. The Pope therefore ordered 
the Bishops to institute an inquiry into all that concerned 
those men, their followers, accomplices, and associations, 
and they were empowered to imprison them without' any 
form of trial : 

" Fraternitati tna3 .... mandamus quatenus, religiosis 
et clericis saecularibus hujusmodi, ac eorum familiaribus, 
complicibus et collegiis, et aliis, vocatis qui fuerint evo- 

428 Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jtjsserand. 

candi, smnmarie simpliciter et de piano ac sine strepitu 
et figura judicii, etiam ex officio, super prsemissis, auctori- 
tate nostra, inqniras diligentius veritatem, et eos ad redden- 
dum tibi computum de receptis et reliqua consignandum, 
remota appellatione, compellas, et quos per inquisitionem 
hujusmodi excessisse vel non veram aut non sufficiens, sen 
ad id non habuisse mandatum inveneris, capias, et tandius 
sub fida custodia teneas carceribus mancipatos, donee id 
nobis intimaveris/' 

All those facts are further confirmed, as far as England 
is concerned, by statements from the learned Eichard 
d'Angerville, or de Bury, bishop of Durham, who speaks, in 
a circular of December 8, 1340, of the same abuses, the same 
greed of the pardoners, and the same associations.^ 

"Eicardus permissione divina, etc . , . dilectis filiis 
archidiaconis nostris Dunolmi et JSTorthumbrise eorumve 
officialibus, salutem, etc. Cum sit statutum in canone, ne 
qui eleemosynarum qusestores ad prsedicandum aut indul- 
gentias clero aut populo insinuandum sine Uteris dicecesanis 
aut apostolicis admittantur, literseque apostolicae qusestori- 
bus hujusmodi concessse ante admissionem eorum per 
dioecesanos examinari debeant diligenter ; ex gravi tamen 
multorum querela ad nostrum pervenit auditum, quod non- 
nulli ex hujusmodi qusestoribus, non sine multa temeritatis 
audacia, motu suo proprio, in animarum subditorum nos- 
trorum periculum et jurisdictionis nostras elusionem mani- 
festam, indulgentias popido concedimt, super votis dispen- 
sant, et perjuriis, homicidiis, usuris et peccatis aliis, sibi 
confitentes, absolvunt, et male ablata, data ' sibi aliqua 
pecuniae quantitate, remittunt, ac alias abusiones quam- 
plurimas f aciunt et exponunt ; vobis in virtute obedientise, 
tirmiter inhibemus, et, per vos, omnibus rectoribus, vicariis 
et capellanis parochialibus, vestri archidiaconatus, inhiberi 
volumus et mandamus, ne aliqui qusestores hujusmodi, 
cujuseunque extiterint conditionis, ad praedicandum aut 
indulgentias aliquas insinuandum clero et populo in ecclesiis 
parochialibus ac locis aliis vestri archidiaconatus memorati, 
absque Uteris nostris et licentia speciali, de caetero admit- 
tantur ; pecuniam etiam et res alias quascunque, per hujus- 
modi quaestores, aut ad eorum instantiam collectas, et infra 
districtum vestrum existentes, indilate faciatis sequestrari, 
et sub arto custodiri sequestro, donee a nobis aliud habueritis 
in mandatis ; certificantes nos de eo quod feceritis in prae- 

* Registrum Palatinum Dunelmense, t. ill. p. 325. Rolls 


Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 429 

missis, et de qiiantitate bonorum sic, ut praemittitur seques- 
tratorum, tempore opportuno. Datum in manerio nostro 
de la Welehall, octavo die m^nsis Decembris, A° D^ M^ 
000** XL et consecrationis nostrse viii^" 

In tbis again many of the features of Cbaucer's Pardoner 

are easily recognisable ; and Langland's pardoner, as well 

as Chaucer's, are obviously of the same family as those of 

the Bishop of Durham. Thus reads the Vision of Piers 

Plowman : 

Ther preched a pardoner • as he a prest were, 

And brou^te for)? a buUe * with bisshopis seles, 

And seide {^at hym-selue • my^te asoilie hem alle 

Of f alsnesse of f astinges ' of vowes to-broke. 

Lewede men lyued hym wel • and likeden bus wordes, 

Comen and kneleden * to kyssen his bulles ; 

He blessed hem with bus breuet * and blerede hure eyen. 

A letter of Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, 
dated 1378,^ is at hand to testify that such practices were 
universal in this country, and that the bishop of Durham's 
prohibitions were no mere accident. Sudbury, though very 
averse to those men, would no more than Eichard de Bury 
pronounce their entire suppression. He simply orders their 
patents to be searched, and the only bearers of regular 
licences to be allowed to go on with their business ; the 
others are to be sent before him for trial : 

"Ad nostram audientiam est psrlatum, quod, licet 
eleemosyuarum qusestores, nisi apostolicas vel dioecesani 
episcopi literas exhibuerint, admitti non debeant, vel per- 
mitti indulgentias sibi concessas insinuare, & populo 
prsedicare ; nonnulli tamen qusestores, qui non sine multa 
temeritatis audacia et deceptione multiplici animarum ac 
elusione populi christiani, indulgentias remissionesque falsas 
et frivolas, et alia erronea in nostris civitate, dioecesi et 
jurisdictionibus nobis immediate subditis, prsedicant abusive, 
tarn per vos, quam per official, archidiaconi nostri cantuar. 
de diebus in dies indifferenter illicite admittuntur, nos 

abusus hujusmodi onmimode aboleri volentes" (the 

usual proliibitions follow). 

And the archbishop's decree is to be proclaimed in every 

church all over the diocese : 

» Wilkius, iii. p. 131. 

430 Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 

" Et prsesens mandatum nostrum in singalis ecclesiis 
nostrarum civitatis, dioec. et jurisdictionum hujusmodi 
faciatis solenniter publicari." 

Like things happened in Ireland. The Provincial Synod 
of Dublin, in 1348, alludes to the letters of which Pardon- 
ers were to he hearers ; and there again no mention is made 
of pontifical or foreign licences as being sufficient, obviously 
for fear of forgery ; but only of letters of the archbishop or 
the diocesan : 

" Item quia eleemosynarum quaestores nonnullas 
abusiones in suis prasdicationibus proponunt, ut decipiant 
simplices tantum, et nonnuUa alia bona subtili vel fallaci 
potius ingenio extorqueant, nonnulla etiam mala in decep- 
tioncm animarum multiplicem perpetrentur ; statuimus et 
ordinamus, quod nuUus amodo quaestor sine Uteris achiepis- 
copi vel dioecesani admittatur quovis modo." ^ 

If priests show slackness in zeal, and allow those men 
to preach, without asking for the official licence, they will 
be suspended for a year, and the pardoner will suffer 
excommunication first, and prison if he perseveres : 

" Sacerdotes vero, qui alio modo quam supradicto, 
qusestores ad preedicandum voluntarie et scienter admittunt, 
per annum a celebratione divinorum ipso facto sint suspensi, 
et ipsi qusestores, si contra prsemissa aliquid attentaverint, 
ipso facto sint excommunicati. Et si per quadraginta dies 
perseveraverint, ad significationem episcoporum capiantur et 
incarcerentur, quousque de talibus aliud fuerit per loci 
dioecesanum dispositum." 

As to the forging of seals, to which we have just alluded, 
there cannot be any doubt that it was easily and frequently 
done. Seals were very common, and the art of engraving 
them was known to many. Eichard II., in his statute of 
1388, takes special notice of the possibility that new seals 
he had ordered to be made, might be forged ; and still those 
seals were intended for no greater object than for letters 
allowing workmen to go from one place to another. As re- 
gards the imitation of the very seal that was of greatest use 

^ Concilia Magnee Brittannise, ii. p. 747. 

Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 431 

to pardoners, viz. the Pope's, I find in the year 51 Ed. III., 
a certain Thomas Pardoner, and his accomplice Eeginald 
Clerc, brought for this offence from Gloucester to London. 
The following is, in Devon's translation, the item in the 
Issue of the Exchequer concerning the expense incurred On 

' account of their j ourney : 

"To John: Compton, one of the king's archers of his 
crown. In money paid to him for the expenses of himself 
and other archers in his retinue, coming from Gloucester to 
London, to conduct and deliver up Thomas Pardoner and 
Eeginald Clerc, forgers of the seal of the Lord the Pope, 

• then taken in those parts, in the office of the king's marshal- 
ship ; also for hire of horses for the same Thomas and 
Eeginald and for divers other costs occurred for their safe 
conduct. — -<£6." 

Thus it was that Chaucer's and Langland's false par- 
doners could show so easily " bisshopis seles," or " our liege 
lordes seal "upon their patents and their bulls. 

Several other decrees of popes or bishops are worth 
quoting, as they are not less strong in their denunciations, 
and curious on account of the abuses they describe. The fre- 
quent repetition of such letters shows what passive strength 
there was in those hated associations of pardoners, and how 
they could survive the poet's ridicule as well as the pope's 
censure. Thus it is, for instance, that shortly before the 
time when Boniface IX. found it necessary to iBxpose 
openly the long Hst of enormities daily committed every- 
where by pardoners, one of his predecessors. Urban Y., 
had had to write a long letter to W. "Wittlesey, Archbishop 
of Canterbury, with special reference to the way of life of 
the quboestores employed by the Hospitallers in England. 
It was the custom, as stated in this document, for certain 
Orders to have attached to them a number of Pardoners, 
going here and there, selling indulgences and even abso* 
lution a pmna et a culpa, for the benefit of their- employers 
and for their own as well. The objection raised against 

432 Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 

the practices of the Hospitallers comes from their belief 
that they were especially privileged on that point, and that 
their pardoners were exempted from all ecclesiastical inter- 
ference but their own, which was of course of the least 
troublesome character. Their men were, on that account, 
practically free ; they openly opposed tbe parish priests, 
and committed, without repression, the grossest possible 
religious abuses : 

"... Percepimus quod quaestores priorum, prseceptorum 
et confratrum domorum nospitalis S. Johannis Jerusalem- 
itani in Anglia, de voluntate, conniventia, ratihabitione sen 
mandato dictorum priorum etc. in pluribus contra juris et 
rationis metas impudenter excedunt. (The obligation of 
showing official licences is here recorded.) !Nonnulli tamen 
quaestores priorum et confratrum praedictorum, gratia 
queestus bujusmodi , et praecipue propter qusestum confra- 
triae seu confraternitatis eorum confratriae dicti hospitalis 
Tulgariter nuncupatae, ad rectorum et vicariorum hujusmodi 
ecclesias accedentes, et se ad praedicandum seu exponendum 
populo hujusmodi negotia quaestuaria offerentes, Kcet con- 
grue et legitime requisiti, literas sedis apostolicae yel dioe- 
cesani loci eisdem rectoribus seu vicariis sic requirentibus, 
ostendere seu exhibere penitus non curarunt, neque curant ; 
quin verius de voluntate, conniventia seu mandato, de 
quibus praedicitur, denegarunt expresse contra constitutiones 
canonicas et, ut timetur, denegare satagent in futurum : 
praetendentes priores et fratres pro se et eorum quaestoribus 
in ea parte fore notorie privilegiatos, licet hoc neque 
notorium fuerit neque verum ; et ut quada'm astutia colorata 
ipsos rectores et vicarios exhibitionem literarum hujusmodi 
sic petentes, acrius fatigent laboribus et expensis, ipsos, eo 
quod exhibitionem literarum hujusmodi deposcebant et 
deposcunt, tanquam injuriatores contra eorum privilegia 
manifestos, et quaestuum suorum impeditores proclamarunt 
et proclamant, eosque coram eorum conservatoribus seu 
subconservatoribus ad loca diversa et quandoque valde 
remota f ecerunt et faciunt ad judicium evocari et per conser- 
vatores sive subconservatores hujusmodi, contra eosdem, 
processus indebitos fieri, eosque nonnunquam excommuni- 
cari, aggravari et denunciari licet de facto, ac alia eis 
gravamina quamplura inferri procurarunt et procurant. . . . 

Et insuper quaestores praedicti frequenter et potissime 
quando satagunt alicui rectori seu vicario nocere, ad ipsius 
rectoris seu vicarii eccJesiam in aliquo die festo, praecipue 
quando populus solitus est offerre, accedunt et ibidem 

Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jussbrand. 433 

qnsestuare, seu nomina fratriae seu fratemitatis suae legere 
incipiunt et continuant usque ad talem illius diei festi 
horam, qua missa ibidem pro illo die convenienter non- 
potest celebrari ; sicque rectores et vicarios hujusmodi suis 
faciunt oblationibus, quae eis in missis hujusmodi obveniunt, 
nequiter defraudari. 

Insuper in ecclesiis et locis ad eos seu dictum hospitale 
nullatenus pertinentibus, licet puHice interdictis seu pollutis 
divina faciunt etiam publice celebrari et in eis pro eorum 
libito per se et alios sepeliunt corpora def unctorum, officium 
qubque seu negotium quaestuandi personis simplicibus et 
quasi illiteratis committunt etc/'^ 

An inquiry is instituted, and the privileges referred to 

are to remain suspended until the results of the inquiry are 

known. !N"othing, I believe, in Chaucer can give a better 

idea of the wickedness of the pardoners than the above 

statements, and nothing more ludicrous can well be imagined 

than their procuring the excommunication of the very parish 

priest who was to have had them imprisoned through his 

diocesan. Their trick of making their speeches and sales, 

in church, on feast days, at the time when mass should have 

been celebrated, and of pocketing the money which a 

numerous congregation had brought, intending it for their 

parson, is equally remarkable. To take up all the time 

available for mass, much eloquence and volubility was of 

course necessary; and Chaucer, it is well known, was not 

ignorant of this. His illiterate pardoner was very eloquent, 

if we believe him : 

... in chirches whan I preche, 
I peyne me to have an hauteyn speche, 
And ryng it out, as lowd as doth a belle, 
Tor I can al by rote which that I telle.^ 

I stonde lik a clerk in my pulpifc, 
And whan the lewed poeple is doun i-set, 
I preche so as ye have herd before 
And telle hem an hondred japes more. 
Than peyne I me to strecche forth my neoke, 
And est and west upon the poeple I bekke. 
As doth a dowf e, syttynge on a heme ; 
Myn hondes and my .tonge goon so yeme, 
That it is joye to se my busynesse.'^ 

* Concilia^ &c., t. iii. p. 84. 
Prologue of the Pardoner, v. 43. ® Ihid, y, 105. 

434 chauobb's pardoner and the pope^s. dr. jusserand. 

At the beginning of the following century we find the 
pardoners still flourishing in England. A special chapter is 
set apart for them in the " articuli concernentes reforma- 
tionem universalis ecclesise editi per universitatem Oxpn. 
A.D. 1414 " : in this chapter it is recorded — 1. that the par-- 
dpners often farmed the right of selling indulgences, and^ 
therefore had no other idea than that of getting from the 
public as much as possible, no matter in what waj ; 2. That 
they spent their money in the worst possible fashion ; 3. That 
, they assumed ecclesiastical functions though they were not 
priests, but mere untaught laymen ; 4. that they fully ab- 
solyed the dead as well as the living, which was no little 
encouragement to sin. In fact the situation was in no way 
altered. Thus runs the a,rticle : 

" Quia inverecundi qusestores turpissimos suos qusestus 
ad firmam emunt cum Simone, indulgentias vendunt cum 
Gyesi et adquisita consumunt cum filio prodigo inhoneste, 
sed quod magis est detestabile, cum non sint in sacris 
prdinibus constituti, publice praedicant ac false prsetendunt 
quod absolvendi a poena et a culpa .tam superstites quam 
defunctos plenam habeant potestatem, cum aliis blasphemiis, 
quibus populum spoliant et seducunt et verisimiliter ad 
tartara trahunt, praestantes spem frivolam et audaciam ad 
peccandum. Abusus igitur sectse pestiferse ab ecclesiae 
limitibus penitus deleantur." ^ 

It is well known that at the time of Henry YIII. the 

pardoner was put on the stage and publicly derided by the 

independent wit of the catholic Heywood,^ and that the 

same thing was done in Scotland by Sir David Lyndsay. 

Perhaps !French pardoners are not so well known, but a 

few lines from one of the popular farces of the old stage 

will show that their usefulness as comic personages was 

equally well understood on the other side of the Channel : 


Je vous VTieil monstrer la creste 
Du coq qui chanta cheuz Pylate ; 

* Wilkins' Concilia, &c., iii. p. 365. 

^ OThe Pardoner and the Frere, the Curate and Neyhour 
Pratte. 1533, fol. ; Tliefoure P. 1545. 

Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jusserand. 435 

Et la moytie d'une late 
De la grande arche de Noe. . . 
Eegardez, seigneurs, v6cy Pelle 
D'un des seraphins d'aupres Dieu ; 
Ne cuydez pas que ce soit jeii : 
V^la la, affin qu'on la voye. 


Sangbieu, c'est la plume d'une oye 
Qu'ir a mangee a son disner ... 
Voicy du bois du tabourin 
De quoy David joue devant Dieu. 


n a menty, par le sangbieu, 
Gar David jouait de la harpe. 


Par la mort bieu, si je te happe, 
Je t' envoyray prescber ailleurs." * 

Babelais also does not fail to include these men in tlie 
vast collection of curious specimens his broad genius has sa 
powerfully set up in his Vie de Gargantua for our instruc- 
tion or amusement. Panurge is at his best when he has to 
deal with the pardonaires or pardonnigeres, and he is never 
more amusing than when he is seen to enter in succession, 
for no good purpose, all the " ecclises oti estoit banque de 
pardons." ^ 

At last, in its 21st session, on the 16th July, 1562, 
Pius TV. being Pope, the CEcumenical Council of Trent 
pronbunced the complete and entire suppression of pardon- 
ers. These are the words of the 9th chapter of the 
Decretum Reformationis published in that session.^ 

" Cum multa a diversis antea conciliis, tam Lateranensi 
ac Lugdunensi, quam Viennensi adversus pravos eleemosy- 
narum quaestorum abusus remedia tunc adhibita, posterioti- 
bus temporibus reddita fuerint inutilia, potiusque eorum 
malitia ita quotidie magno fidelium omnium scandalo et 
querela excrescere deprehendatur, ut de eorum emendatione 
nulla spes amplius relicta videatur, statuit sancta synodus ut 

^ Le Th^^tre en Angleterre depuis la Conqu^te jusqu'aux pr§- 
decesseurs immMiats de Shakespeare, 1878, 8°, p. 151. 

* Liv. II. cb. xvii. 

^ Conciliorum generalium Ecclesise catholics Pauli V. Pont. 
Max. auctoritate editus, tomus lY. (p. 261), Eome 1628, 4 vol. ifol. 

436 Chaucer's pardoner, and the pope's, dr. jcjsserand. 

posthac in qnibuscumque cliristianae religionis locis eorum 
nomen atque usus penitus aboleatur, nee ad officium hujus- 
modi exercendum ullatenus admittantur ; nonobstantibus 
privilegiis, ecclesiis,. monasteriis, bospitalibus, piis locis et 
quibusvis cujuscumque gradus, status et dignitatis personis, 
concessis, aut consuetudinibiis etiam inimemorialibus. 
Indulgentias vero aut alias spirituales gratias, quibus non 
ideo christifideles decet privari, deinceps per ordinarios 
locorum, adhibitis duobus de capitulo, debitis temporibus 
populo publicandas esse decernit. Quibus etiam eleemo- 
synas, atque oblata sibi cbaritatis subsidia, nulla prorsus 
mercede accepta, fideliter colligendi facultas datur, ut 
tamdem coelestes bos Ecclesise tbesauros, non ad qusestum 
sed ad pietatem exerceri, omnes vere intelligant." 

And so it happened tbat pardoners disappeared. 
Whether the reform above indicated could not have been of 
a more sweeping character, we need not inquire ; and though 
it would be very easy to add several other authorities to 
those already quoted, I suppose they will prove sufficient. 
Their collection here is merely an attempt to show, after 
many critics, the great historical value and the minute 
accuracy of Chaucer's descriptions, a value which being 
generally considered as a matter of course, is often prac- 
tically left aside, doubtless because we are very apt to dis- 
trust our own confidence when it has grown up of itself, 
out of feelings and not out of reasons. 

QueerCs Boad, 12 June, 1880. 






feiiBiiraxoir asts boswobih pbofessob of AKaLo-SAxoN iir xhb 


{This Essay appears in Prof. Skeafs Third edition of Chaucer's 
Prioresses Tale, i&c.. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1880,} 

OH. ESSAYS. 2 if 


We know tliat Cliaucer made a translation of tlie 
Eomaunt of the Eose; but the only translation of that 
poem now extant is not his. This point has been obscured 
by the fact that all the editions contain this anonymous 
translation, and it has always been associated with his 
name. But the internal evidence against this hasty con- 
clusion is overwhelming and irrefragable, though the poem 
will long continue to be considered as genuine by readers 
unacquainted with Chaucer's metre and grammar. But as 
the careful perusal of even so small a portion of Chaucer 
as is contained in either of my volumes of Selections from 
Chaucer will enable a student to exercise his own judgment 
on this point, a few of the arguments are here appended. 

It must be observed at the outset that there may have 
been for all we know, %:^q or six translations - of the 
Eomaunt of the Eose by different authors. Of other 
similar works there still exist several translations, and they 
are almost all anonymous. Thus, of the Troy-book, we 
not only have a version by Lydgate, and another (unpub- 
lished and imperfect) by Barbour, but a third (also unpub- 
lished) in the Bodleian Library, and a fourth, in alliterative 
verse, published by the Early English Text Society. 
' These versions are independent translations from Guido de 
Colonna, belong to the end of the Hth and beginning of 
the 15th century, and must have been made within a 
period of fifty years. Probably the earliest was that by 
Barbour, then the Alliterative, then Lydgate's, and last of 

2 F 2 


all the Bodleian ; ' Warton, Hist. Eng. Poetry, ed. Hazlitt, 
ii. 129, footnote. So again, of the Story of Alexander, we 
have the version in Weber's Metrical Eomances, the 
alliterative Eomance printed by Stevenson, the Alexander 
fragment printed by myself as an appendix to William of 
Palerne, Alexander and Dindimus (E.E.T.S.), and so on. 
We find, in fact, that numerous translations, mostly 
anonymous, were made at the end of the fourteenth 
century; and it is extremely unlikely that Chaucer's 
translation of the Eomaunt should have been the only one. 
Moreover, Chaucer either intentionally suppressed some of 
his translations^ or took no care to preserve -them ; so that 
we have, now only his own word for his translations of the 
Book of the Lion, of Origenes upon the Maudeleyne, and 
of Pope Innocent's treatise I>e Miseria. Hence there is 
actually, at the very outset of the enquiry, a presumption 
in favour of the fact that the existing translation is anony- 
mous, and not his. Its presence in the editions proves 
nothing; it was inserted merely on the strength of the 
title, just as the early editions contain The Lamentation of 
Mary Magdalene, inserted to supply the place of Chaucer's 
Maudeleyne. We have to bear in mind (for it is an 
important point), that we first meet with the Eomaunt in 
the edition of 1532, a coUeotion of Chaucer's (supposed) 
works made a hundred and tJiirty years after his death. 
Most critics calmly ignore this, and speak as if it had 
been associated with Chaucer from the first. A very little 
reflection will shew that the external evidence is simply 
worthless, and we are driven to examine the poem itself. 
We then stand on firm ground, and the results are in- 
teresting and decisive. 

To save trouble, I shall call the anonymous author ' the 
translator,' and his work ' the translation,' and proceed to 
give a brief sketch of the nature of the arguments. Want 
of space prevents my saying much, but I think the tests 
suggested will suffice to enable any one who really under^ 


stands philology to work out tlie whole matter for himself, 
if he should wish to do so\ 

Test I. Tlie Riming of -j with -ye. This is explained 
in the note to B. 2092, p. 169. Chaucer 7iever rimes such 
a word as treicelyy ending in -^, with Erench substantives 
ending in -?/e, such d^^folye, Jelousye, In the translation, 
examples abound, e.g. generaly^ vilanye, 2179^ ; worthy , 
curtesy's, 2209 ; folye, by, 2493, 2521 ; airtesye, gladly, 
2985 ;flaterye, utterly, 3387 ; lelousye, I, 3909 ; multiplye, 
hy, 5600. There are plenty more, which the curious may 
discover for themselves. The MS. of the translation often 
has the absurd spellings hye for hy, and the like, to keep 
up a rime to the eye ; but the truth lies the other way, 
that the final -e was dropped by the translator, just as it 
always was by Barbour, who rimes foly with wyhTcytly, 
Bruce, i. 221 ; &c., &c. To meet the argument drawn 
from this test, the puerile plea has been set up, that 
Chaucer's practice of riming differed at different periods of 
his life ! This is purely gratuitous, and contrary to all the 
evidence. See, e. g. his Book of the Duchesse. 

Test II. The use of assonant rimes. In the poem of 
Havelok the Dane, we find rimes that are not true rimes, 
but mere assonances, such as yeme, quene, 182 ; mahed, 
shajped, 1646 ; &c., &c^. I need hardly say that no 
such rimes occur in Chaucer^. But, in the translation, 
there are numerous examples, which are quite decisive. 
Some are : kejpe, eke, 2126 ; shape, make, 2260 ; escape, 
make, 2753; take, scape, 3165 ; laste, to harste, 3185. In 

^ Several of the points mentioned below will be found in. jmy 
letter to The Academy on this subject, Aug. 10, 1878, p. 143. 

^ I give the Chaucerian spelling to shew the impossibility of the 
rimes being due to Chaucer. The numbers refer to the lines of the 
poem, as printed in Morris's Aldine edition of Chaucer, vol. vi. 

* A list is given in my preface to Havelok, p. xlv. 

* Mr. Bradshaw kindly points out the riming of termOf yeme. 
Book of the Duchess, 11. 79, 80. This is a most instructive 
instance ; for yeme is a mistake of the scribes for erme, the true 
Chaucerian form, as I shew in the note to Group C, 1. 312 ; see 
Man of Law's tale, 2nd ed., p. 142. ^ 


the last case, we might read to hraste. This secures a rime 
indeed, but it brings us no nearer to Chaucer ; he rimes 
taste (to last) with words such as faste, caste, &c. ; whereas 
^to burst' is, with him, to hreste, riming with lestey it 
pleased, reste ; &c. He has, indeed, hrast as a past tense, 
but that is quite a different matter. 

Test III. The riming qfheve and there. It has been 
maintained by Dr. Weymouth, in the Transactions of the 
Philological Society, that Chaucer rimes a certain set of 
words with the word here, and another set of words with 
the word there ; and no word in one set ever rimes with a 
word in the other set. Whether this be true or not, it can 
be maintained and defended, and cannot be easily and 
formally disproved. But when we turn to the translation, 
we have a short and simple way of shewing that the trans- 
lator cared nothing whatever about any such distinction. 
In 1. 663, he rimes there with were (verb) ; in 1. 2977, he 
rimes were with /ere (fear) ; and in 1. 3843, he rimes fere 
with hei'e. And there is an end of this test. 

Test IV. Strange rimes. We find in the translation all 
sorts of rimes such as Chaucer, judging by the evidence, 
would never have dreamt of. Examples : joynt, queynt, 
2037; ahoute, swote, 1705; desire, nere, 1785; fresh, 
sarsynish (sarsnet, misprinted sarlynysh), 1188; more, ar, 
2215; annoy, away, 2675; ioye, conveye, 2915; crowne, 
persone, 3201 ; doun, tourne, 5472. In this case, I leave 
the spelling as in the MS. Plenty more such rimes may 
be found. ^ 

Test Y. The grammatical use of final ^e. In the 
translation, we find to tel, a gerund, riming with hifel, 
3083 : set, pp., riming with the gerund to et (to eat), 2755. 
I have written the preface to my Selections in vain if even 
the beginner cannot see that Chaucer would have written 
telle in one place, and ete in the other, and would not have 
tolerated such rimes as these. I adduce no more such 
instances, but there are, in the translation, hundreds of them. 


Test YI. The test of dialed. This test alone is 
decisive, and deserves great attention. Many have noticed 
that the translation bears obvious marks of b. more Northern 
dialect than that of Chaucer. Mr. Arnold, in a letter to 
the Academy, July 20, 1878, p. 67, says — 'that the 
language of the only existing MS. of the Romaunt is of a 
somewhat more Northern cast than that of Chaucer's works 
generally, is indisputable. It seems to me tinged by the 
dialect of ^N'orfolk and Lincolnshire. . . Lepand (leaping) 
occurs — a distinctly I^orthern form. But the divergence 
from the language of London is not greater than can 
be reasonably set down to the account of an East- Anglian 
transcriber, as distinguished from the original author. In 
connection with this point, it may be noted that a memor- 
andum inside the Hunterian volume ^ states that the MS< 
was given in 1720 by Mr; Sturgeon, surgeon, of Bury St. 
Edmunds, to one Thomas Martin 2/ My answer is, that 
this is a misleading statement j it implies that the !N"orthern 
participles in -and are due to the transcriber. But they are 
due to the autlior^ and cannot be explained away. As this 
is an important point, I cite four lines, in full, properly 
spelt, omitting he in L 2263. 

' Poyntis and slevis wel sittand, 
Eighte and streighte on the hand ; ' 2263. - 

* They shal hir tel how they ^QQfand, 
Curteys and wys, and wel doand ; ' 2707. 

Change these into Chaucerian spelling, and we have dttinge 
riming with hand ; and fond (not fand, see fond in 
Glossary) riming with doing; which is absurd ^ The 
word fand is just as clear an indication of ITorthern dialect 
(to those who can see) as the use of the present participle 

1 The MS. of the translation is in the Hunterian collection at 

^ Meaning Thomas Martin of Palgrave. 

^ Several years ago, I happened to renaark to a friend that the 
suffix -and is a sure mark of Northern influence. He observed, 
that he had just found some instances of the use of this suffix in, 
Chaucer. I replied — ' then it was in the Eomaunt of the Eose.' 
Answer — * Yes, it was,' 


in -and. I will indicate one more l!«J"ortliern form, too 
important to be passed over, viz. the use of the Scandi- 
navian preposition ^?*rin place of the Southern English fo. 
Til occurs as a rime to wil and j*^? thrice; see lines 4593, 
4854, 5816. ]S"ow, although til is found in the MSS. of 
Chaucer, A. 1478, it is of doubtful authenticity ; if correct, 
it seems to have been used instead of to before a vowel, to 
avoid the hiatus. But in IsTorthern works it is very- 
common ; and the use of it, as in the translation, after its 
case, is notable. 

But the transcript really is often at fault ; being more 
southern in character than the translator's real language. 
The scribe has set down rimes that are no rimes, but which 
become so when turned into the i^orthern dialect. Thus, 
he rimes thore (there) with more, 1853, Chaucer's form 
being there; and also raore with are, 1. 2215, which is no 
rime at all. Barbour would have written, thar, mar, and 
ar ; which makes the rimes perfect^. So also hate (hot) 
riming with state, 2398, is iN'orthem ; Chaucer's form is 
hoot, Cf. also avenaunt or avenand (as in Barbour's 
Bruce), riming with^Zesawwi^ oi^ plesand, 4621 ;. paramouris 
(Bruce), riming with shouris, 4657 ; ado (for at do = to do, 
a well-known !N"orthern idiom), riming .with go, 5082; 
certis (a !S"orthem form for Chaucer's eertes), riming with 
is, 5544 ; fawe (fain, a !N'orthern form), riming with sawe, 
a saying, 6477. Chaucer has taught e, taught ; but the 
translator has teched, riming with preched, 6681. The 
continual dropping of the final -e, so common in the 
translation, is a well-known mark of J^orthern idiom ; see 
p. Iviii, above, Eor e^samples, take Jlitte, it, 5362^; gete, 
set, 4828 ; lye, erly, 2645; feet, lete, 1981. They may be 
found in large numbers. 

Test YII. The test of vocabulary. This is a test I 

' Again, / w<?#^ rimes with ^s]f«#^, 6402 ; rQ2i^lwat,estat,ihQ 
Northumbrian forms. To give many &uoh examples is surely 
needless ; and it beconies tedious. 


have never yet seen mentioned, except in the most hap- 
hazard way ; thus Mr. Arnold observes that smale foules 
occurs in the translation, L 106, and also in Chaucer's 
prologue, 1. 9.1 But smale foules is merely Middle-English 
for ' little birds,' and might have been used by any one. 
I attach very small importance to this test of vocabulary, as 
I believe it to be frequently misleading, and it is often 
misapplied. Its value as a proof is very slight, as compared 
with the tests furnished by metre and grammar. Still, as 
it carries weight with some readers, I will not omit to 
consider it. 

Whoever will really read the translation, must be 
struck with the extraordinary number of unusual words in 
it, especially of words which never occur in Chaucer. 
Many of these words have been attributed to Chaucer over 
and over again, but solely on the strength of the transla- 
tion, and quite erroneously. By way of illustration, I will 
mention that Chaucer calls a iarh a larJc, C. T. 1493 ; but 
the translator calls it a laverock, 662. 

We may particularly notice three facts. 

A. The translator and Chaucer use different forms of the 
same word. 

B. The translator and Chaucer use similar forms in 
different senses. 

C. Words occur in the translation which do not occur 
in Chaucer. 

A. The mod. E. abroad is, in Chaucer, abrood ^ ; but, in 
the translation, abrede (miswritten abrode), riming with 
forwered (wiitteiiforweried), 2563. 

' And even here we may remark that, if we find smale foules 
in 1. 106, the phrase is smale h'iddcs (not foules) just above, 1. 88; 
of. 1. 101. 

' I must refer the reader to the Glossaries in Moxon's reprint 
of The Poetical Works of Chaucer, 1855 ; and in Morris's ATdine 
edition ; also to the glossaries appended to the three volumes of 
Chaucer Selections in the Clarendon Press series. Most words can 
thus he traced. I give the references to the ' translation ' as edited 
by Morris, remarking that in Moxon's edition the numbering of the 
lines slightly differs, but never by more than seven lines. 


¥ov found, we Rjid /and, 2707. ChaMcer, fond. 

For cowardice, we find do war disc (2490), riming with 
dispise. CKaucer lias cowardye, C. T. 2732 (Tyrwhitt), 
riming with, vilanye. 

For fain, we ^ndifawe, r. w.^ sawe, 6477. Ch. lias fayn, 

¥oi! faireness, we find fairehede, 2484. Ch. has fair-r 
nesse, E. 334, So also youthede, 4934; semlyhede, 777. 

For fared, i. e. gone, we find /ore, r. w. more, 2709. 
Ch. has/are, E. 896. 

For to go onds way, we find, wente her gate (common in 
the Il^orth), 3332. Ch. would have said wente her loay ; 
see to take our ivey, Prol. 33. 

For obedience, we find oheysshyng, 3380. Ch. says 
oheysance, E. 24. 

For piercing, we find persaunt, 2809 ; as in the Court 
of Love, 849. Surely Ch. would have said percing, 

Chaucer has enclosed as the pp. ; E. 1783. The form 
in the translation is very remarkahle, viz. enclos, a purely 
French word. The scribe, indeed, is so stupid as to write 
enclosid is, 1652; but, seeing that enclos is rimes with 
rosis, the correction is easy. 

The carelessness of the translator appears in his using 
fier (fire), to rime with desire, 2467; whilst, only four lines 
helow, the form is fere, to rime with nere (nigher). Ch. 
has /^r {y = long ^). 

For sojourn, we find sojour, r. w. tour, 4281 ; but Ch, 
has soiorne or soioiirne, r. w. tourne, D. 988. 

For / icot, we find I wote, 2402 ; but, as it rimes to 
estate (read estat), it is meant for the JN'orthern.JTt^a^. Ch. 
has I ivqt or / woot only. 

For hedge, we find ho/le, 54, 3007. Ch. has hegge or 

For ' masterly workmanship,' we find maistrise, r. w. 

purprise, 4171. Ch. has maistrie. A very remarkable 

example occurs in the following. For a female scold, we 

^ I. e. riming with. . : 


find cJnderesse, 4266 ; but Chancer has cMdester (C. T. 
9409, Tyrwhifct) \ JSTote also honden, hands, 6667. 

B. Different senses of one form. Auaunt means for- 
ward, 3958 ; 4793. In Ch., it means a hoasL 

BailUe means custody, government, 4302, 7574. In 
Ch., it means a 'bailiff, 

Baude ioa.ea.ns Joyous, 5677. In Ch., it means a hawd? 

Bourdon means a staff, 3401, 4092. In Ch., it is the 
burden of a song; 'Fioh 675, 

Come means a quinee, 1374, In Ch., it is a eoin, 

Aleys means, 1377. In Ch., it means alleys, 
i. e, garden-walks.. 

To eongecte means to plan, 6930. In Ch., it means to 
conjecture or suppose; Tfoil. iv. 998 (Morris). 

To elde is a verb, to make old, 391, 396. But in Ch., 
it is only a sb.,. signifying old age. 

Quene in Chaucer means a queen ; in the translation, 
it is used in the worst sense, 7034. 

SoUin means sullen, 3896. In Ch., it is merely sole or 

C. The translation abounds with remarkable words ; the 
translator was a great master of language, with a vocabulary 
of his own ; but many of his words are to be found in 
Barbour, Wyclif, the Promptorium Parvulorum, Havelok, 
and Piers Plowman, rather than in Chaucer^. I note a 
few of these. 

Accusith, reveals, 1591; acoie, to quiet (as in Will, of 
Palerne), 3564 ; agree, adv. in good part, 4349 ; aguiler, 
needle-case, 98 ; alege, alleviate (as in the Prick of Con- 
science), 6628; aleys (French alise), lote-trees, 1377^; 

* We may also note different words for the same thing ; thus 
swire for neek, 325 ; Chaucer's word is kals. 

* Morris gives only the sense joyous ; but this sense will not 
suit his reference to the Freres Tale, 1. 56. 

' In saying that these words do not occur in Chaucer, I may- 
make a few mistakes. I only say that I have overlooked them. 
The list must he taken as tentative only, for what it is worth. 

* Dr. Morris gives only the sense of lote-trees^ hut his reference 
to March. Tale, 1080, demands the sense of garden-waliks. 


almandres, almond-trees, 1363 ; dlpes, bulfinches (Prompt. 
Parv.), 658 ; among (in the sense noio and then, as in 
Barbour), 3771 ; anJcer, ancliorite (P. Plowman), 6351 ; 
anoie, sb. (Barbour), 4404; aqueintahle, 2213; arblasters, 
crpssbow-men (avMa^teris in Barbour), 4196; archangel^ 
not a dead nettle (Prompt. Parv.), but a bird, 915 ; assise, 
situation, 1237; a^owr, head-dress, 3718; a?;aw?if, forward, 
3958, 4793; a?;ewa?2f, becoming (Barbour), 1263; aumener, 
purse, 2087. 

Baggingly, squintingly, 292; laillie, custody, 4302, 
7574; to Tier handon (Bruce), 1163; hasting, sewing 
slightly, 104; hatailed, embattled, 4162; haude, joyous, 
6677 ; heau sire, sir, 6056 ; beJiove, behoof (Havelok), 
1092; henomen, taken away, 1509 ; higine, beguine, 6863, 
7368 ; &imene, bemoan (Hav.), 2667 ; hlelne, blain (Wye), 
553; hola^, buUace, 1377; hordellers (hordel in Wye), 
7036 ; hoserd, buzzard, 4033 ; hothum, bud, 1721 ; hourdon, 
staff (P. PL), 3401 ; hurnette, brown cloth, 226. 

Caleweis, sweet pears (P. PL), 7045 ; cameline, camlet, 
7367 ; canelle, cinnamon, 1370; chelaundre, goldfinch; 81; 
cherisaunce, comfort, 3337; chevisailU, necklace, 1082; 
chideresse, 4266 ; cierges, wax-tapers (Hav.), 6251 ; clapers, 
rabbitburrows, 1405 ; clipsy, eclipsed, 5352 ; closer, in- 
closure, 4069 ; coine, quince, 1374 ; condise, conduits, 1414 ; 
congect, to plan, 6930 ; conisaunce, understanding, 5468 ; 
constaUerie, ward of a castle, 4218 ; cotidien, daily, 2401 ; 
coure, to squat, 465^; cowai^dlse, 2490; customer, accus- 
tomed, 4939. 

Decoded, cut down, 843 ; disndily, irregularly, 4903 ; 
dissoned, dissonant, 4248 ; distinct, to distinguish, 6202 ; 
dole, deal, part 2, 2364; dole, grief (Wye), 2956 ; divined, 
wasted (Wye), 360. 

Msel, vinegar (Wye), 217; elde, to make old (Wye), 
391; endoute, to fear, 1664; engreve, to hurt, 3444; 

* Chaucer's word is coucTie ; see C. T., E. 1206. 

* So in Court of Love, 1098 ; but Chaucer has del» 


entailed, carved, 140, 162 ; equipolences, equivalents, 7078 ; 
erJke. weary, 4870; espirituel, spiritual, 650; expleite, to 
perform, 6177. 

Fairhede, beauty, 2484 ; farce, to paint, 2285 ; fardel, 
burden (Wye), 56S6 -, felden, fell, 911 ; j^awwce, trust, 
5484; flourette, floweret, 891; fordwined, wasted away, 
366; /or/are, to fare ill (Barbour), 5391 ; forsongen, 664; 
forwandred (P. PL), 3336 ; forwelked, 360 ; forwered, 235 ; 
foxerie, 6797 ; freshe, to refresh, 1513. 

Gadling (Hav., P. PL), 938 ; gate, way, 3332 ; girdle- 
sfede, waist, 826 ; gisarme, 5981 ; glonibe, to be gloomy, 
4356 ; gonfanon, 1201, 2018 ; gospellere \ evangelist, 6889 ; 
grete, to weep (Barbour), 4116 ; groine, to pout, 705 1.^ 

Habit e, to dwell, 660 ; Jiaie, 54 ; havoir, wealth, 
4723 ; horriUete, 7189; hulstred, hidden, 6149. 

Joyne, to enjoin, 2355. 

Kernels, battlements (Jcymail, Barbour), 4195 ; knoppe, 
SL button (P. PL), also a bud, 1080, 1702 ; Tcnopped, 7260. 

LaTcke, to blame, 284 ; laverock, 662 ; lettred, learned 
(P. PL), 7691. 

Maisondewe (P. PL), 5622 ; maistrise, 4172 ; maltalent, 
ill will (gL talent , Barbour), 274, 330; maois^, thrush, 
619; merke, dark (Barbour), 5342; metely, proportionable 
(Ormulum), 822 ; mzc^er, thief, 6543 ; minoresse, 1^^ ] 
mitcJie, loaf, 5588; moison, growth, 1677; monest\ to 
admonish, 3579 ; mo?'daunt, buckle-tongue, 1094 ; musard, 
dreamer, 3256, 4034. 

Nokked, notched, 942. 

Obey sing, 3380; onde, malice, 148 ; orfrays, embroidery, 
662, 869. 

Paire, to impair (P. PL), 6106 ; papelard, hypocrite, 

' Chaucer has euangelist, B. 2133. 

* We find groynyng, Knightes Tale, 1602, which Morris explains 
by 'stabbing.' But it would be better to explain it by 'pouting' ; 
in which cause groine is a Chaucerian word. 

^ And in Court of Love, 1388. 

* Observe that Chaucer has only the comp. amoneste ; the form 
monest, without initial a, is Northern, and occurs in Barbour. 


7283 ; popeholyy 415 ; ;persaunt, 2809 ; pesihle (Barb.), 
7413; portecolise, 4168; poste, power (pouste, Barb.), 
6486, 6535 ; preterit^ 5011 ; primetemps, 4750 ; pullaile 
(Barb.), 7045 ; purprise^ 4171. 

Quarel, crossbow-bolfc, 1823 ; queue (in bad sense, as in 
P. PL), 7034; querrour, quarry-man, 4149. 

Racine, root, 4884 ; ramage i, wild, 5387 ; ravisahle, 
7018 ; reffe, rift, 2661 ; ribaninges, 1077 ; rimpled, 4495 ; 
Hue, 5396 ; riveling, 7262 ; roigne, roignoics, 553, 988, 
6193; rohet, 1240, 4757; roMng, 1906. 

Saile, to assail, 7338 ; sailours, dancers (cf. saille in 
P. P].), 770; sarsinisJie, 1188; savourous, 84; scantilone, 
a pattern (Prompt. Parv., Cursor Mundi), 7066 ; seignorie 
{sensory, Barb.), 3213 ; semlyhede, comeliness, 777, 1130 ; 
sere, dry (Prompt. Parv.), 4752 ; slowe, moth (?), 4754 ; 
soigne J care, 3882 ; solein, sullen (Eom.of Partenay), 3896 ; 
sojour, stay; spannishing, blooming, 3633 ; springold, 4191 ; 
sucTciny, loose frock, 1232 ; swire, neck, 325. 

Tapinage, sculking, 7363 ; tatarwagges, rags, 7259 ; 
tinibre, timbrel, timhestere, timbrel-player, 772,' 769 ; 
tourette, turret, 4164 ; trashed, betrayed {betreyss, Barb.), 
3231 ; trecliour, cheat, 197 ; trepeget, 6282 ; truandise, 
truanding, ^^^Q, 6723. 

Vngodely, uncivil {ungod, Ormulum), 3741 ; unhide, 
2168; urclion, hedgehog, 3135; vecke, old woman, 4286, 
4495; vendahle, 5807; verger, garden, 3618, 3831; ver- 
meile, 3645 ; voluntee, 5279. 

Welmetli, wells up, 1561 ; wirry, to worry, 6267 ; 
wodewale, 658 ; wyndre, 1020. 

Toutliede, youth, 4934. 

The above list is certainly a remarkable one ; and if 

any critic should succeed in discovering more than five per 

cent of the above words in Chaucer, I shall be much 


* Morris refers us also to Ch. C. T., Group G, 887 ; the word 
there is rammish, ram-like ; quite a different word, and of E. 


When regard is had to all the tests above, when we find 
that, each and all, they establish a difference between the 
language of the translation and that of Chaucer, it is surely 
time to consider the question as settled. Henceforward, to 
attribute the translation to Chaucer, may be left to those 
who have no sense of the force and significance of such 
arguments as philology readily supplies. I have no doubt 
whatever that the discovery of still greater discrepancies 
would reward more careful search. 

It remains to state what the translation reaUy is. It 
certainly belongs to the fourteenth century, and is perhaps 
as early as 1350 a.d., though the MS. (perhaps an East- 
Anglian one) is considerably later, and is not always 
correct. The original dialect was not IsTorthumbrian, but 
a Midland dialect exhibiting ^Northumbrian tendencies ; 
I hesitate^ to make a more explicit statement. The author, 
like so many other authors of the fourteenth century, is 
anonymous, and we do not know where to find more of 
his work. 





itotes on Cfjaucefs H^oxsts 

p. Q. EAEKEEK, M.E.O.S.; L.S.A., 






Importance of Dartmouth. Temp, Ed. 

III. . 


Sailors on Horseback 


Costume ... 


Sampling the Wine 




Domestic Quarrels 


The Wine Fleet 


The Royal Navy and its support 


Naval Parliament 


Impressment of Ships and Men .... 


Guard of the Coast 


Sailors' Law ...- 


Sailors' Wages - ... 


Ship's Colours and Papers 


Horses on Board Ship 






The Compass 




Numbers of Crew 






The Master of the 'Maudelayne' 



No. I. The Fittings of a Barge 

„ II. The ' Maudelayne ' of Dartmouth 


Notes on the Horses mentioned by Chaucer, with Richard II. 's 
Regulations for Hackney-Men 490, 499 

^be Sbipman. 


Leaf 147, Back. 



'' A Soliipman was ther, wonyng fer by weste : 
For ought I woot, he was of Dertemouthe. 
He rood upon a rouncy, as he couthe, 
In a gpwne of faldyng to the kne. 
A daggere hangyng on a laas hadde he 
About his nekke under his arm adoun. 
The hoote somer hadde maad his hew al broun ; 
And certainly he was a good felawe. 
Ful many a draughte of wyn hadde he ydrawe 
From Burdeux-ward, while that the chapman sleep. 
Of nyce conscience took he no keep. 
If that he faughte, and hadde the heigher hand, 
By water he sente hem hoom to every land. 
But of his craft to rekne wel his tydes, 
His stremes and his daungers him bisides, 
His herbergh and his mone, his lode menage, 
Ther was non such from Hull [vn]to Cartage. 
Hardy he was, and wys to undertake ; 
With many a tempest hadde his herd ben schake. 
He knew wel alle the havenes, as thei were, 
From Gootland to the Cape of Fynystere, 
And every cryke in Bretayne and in Spayne ; 
His barge y-cleped was the Maudelayne." 

Chaucer had ample opportunity for studying the man- 
ners and customs of the sailors of his day : he made 
several voyages to France and elsewhere, and doubtless 
took mental notes of all he saw; and in fulfilling the 
duties of his office as Comptroller of the Customs of the 
Port of London, he had the best possible chances of seeing 
Jack ashore. Beside the finished portrait given us in the 
Prologue, the:re are other passages in his various tales which 
seem to indicate that the poet somewhat affected nautical 
matters : in fact, it would appear as though he had £eeri a 
good deal of ships and sailors, and as if mariners were a 
class of men for whom he had a great liking. 

456 XV. - chaucek's shipman. 

To those unacquainted with the history of the trade of 
England, it may appear very strange that the personage 
chosen to represent the seafaring class, should have hailed 
from the insignificant port of Dartmouth : but the poet 
here bears testimony to the importance of the now almost 
forgotten - little place. In the days of the Plantagenet 
kings, Dartmouth occupied a very high position, though it 
has long- since fallen therefrom. The natural advantages 
of the port, as a harbour of refuge, and as a place for ship- 
building, remain just as they were when ^ Ye Maudelayne ' 
went to and fro on her various voyages ; and these would 
be of just as much value to-day, if it were not that the 
commercial relations of England have been entirely re- 
arranged. Other ports of great importance in by-gone days 
have shared a like fate, and are now but rarely sought 
except for local requirements. This is evident from the 
Eoll of Calais, which gives the number of ships and men 
gathered together for the purposes of the siege of that city 
in 1347. In this, every ship that could be reached by 
royal warrant was compelled to take part, and the number 
collected was 738, with 14,956 men on board.l The quota 
sent by Dartmouth was 31 ships with 757 men, and this 
was exceeded by two ports only, viz. Yarmouth, and the 
little Cornish town of Fowey ; the former sent 43 ships and 
1905 men, and the latter 47 ships with 770 men. E'ow 
where are these three towns among the ports of to-day 1 
The discovery of America, and the use of steam in nautical 
affairs have revolutionized the mercantile marine ; and 
other towns not even mentioned in the Eoll of Calais, 
now have larger populations than all three of the chief 
contributors to the siege put together. 

Chaucer was not the first, nor has he been the last, to 
make fun of a sailor's horsemanship : that has long been a 
well worn joke. The Italians of the middle ages were 

* " KoU of Calais," in Charnock' s Ifarine Arc7dtectu7'ej 
vol. i. p. 38. 

XV. chauceb's shipman. 457 

wont to tell comical stories about Venetians on horseback, 
and tbis probably as much on account of tbe nautical lives 
of tbe inhabitants, as because of the uselessness of horses 
in their city. But there is more in Chaucer's edition of 
the joke than is seen by the majority of readers : 
" He rood upon a rouncy, as he couthe." 
The word 'rouncy,' from the Mediaeval Latin Runcinus, 
implies a heavy, powerful animal, either a pack-horse, or 
such as is used for rough agricultural purposes ; in neither 
case was it suited for the saddle nor intended for such 
work. In the days when the pilgrimage to Canterbury was 
a pleasant little holiday, it was the custom for stable- 
keepers to let out horses for the journey at certain regulated 
charges ; and very high these charges were. The hire of a 
hackneyi from Southwark to Eochester was twelve pence, 
or about fifteen to twenty shillings of to-day; and from 
Eochester to Canterbury the same. Add thereto the hire 
for the return journey, and it will be evident that excursion 
trains, though somewhat dangerous, are very much cheaper. 
The wealthier classes would not require this convenience, 
as they had their own horses ; those accustomed to much 
inland travelling would naturally keep horses ; and i,t was 
more often the custom for persons about to take a long 
journey to buy a horse, and sell it again on the conclusion 
of the journey, than to hire ; even if hackney-men could 
be found who would let animals for long journeys. Pro- 
bably the road to Eochester, Canterbury, and Dover was 
at this time the best in England ; and from the fact that the 
charges for hiring horses were subject to regulations,. . it 
would seem to imply that an organized system was in exist- 
ence along this route. E'ow, pilgrims coming from beyond 
London would most likely take their horses through to 
Canterbury and back again ; but those who started from 
London, and did not own horses, would find it cheaper for 

^ See Regulations for Hackney Men, p. 499. 


SO short a journey to hire. Among these would be our 
Schipman, who may perhaps have left his barge loading or 
unloading in the Thames, to the care of his crew, while 
he joined a merry party to go to the shrine of St, Thomas, 
If Harry Baily acted on the principle embodied in 
Hobson's choice, '^that or none," his customers had to 
mount whatever- animal he choose to provide ; and con- 
sequently the sailor, being unaware of the respective merits 
of pack-horse or hackney, would simply take whatever the 
stable-man put before him, in utter ignorance of its unsuit- 
ability for the saddle, and doubtless concluded that the 
misery he endured was the natural consequence of his bad 
horsemanship, and not to be ascribed to the beast he rode. 
It is easy then to picture, first, the trouble he would have 
to keep up with, the steeds of the Knight and the Squire, 
or the palfreys of the Ladies and the Monks ; and next the 
utterly uncomfortable pace and seat of the animal ; in addi- 
tion to the rider's unskilfulness : — in fact, but for the name 
of the thing, walking would have been far preferable. 
Our Schipman was dressed 

" In a gown of faldyng to the knee." 
Faldyng was a coarse serge cloth, very rough and very 
durable, and made, probably in this instance, in one of the 
many Devonshire looms, where serges are well known 
to-day. Large quantities of this cloth were made in 
England and exported : it was admirably suited for sailors 
exposed to wind and weather, as being calculated to keep 
the wearer warm and dry. The long blue or rusty brown 
gown or frock, tightened at the waist by a cord or belt, 
or worn loose, according to taste, is no longer the costume 
of English sailors generally, but it can frequently be seen 
among the fishermen and sailors at the little seaside villages 
in Devon and Cornwall, and perhaps elsewhere. These 
frocks are made of coarse though strong serge called 
'^ Eear naught," but are gradually disappearing before 
machine- woven fabrics. Occasionally the crews of French 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 459 

fishing cutters will put into our ports on account of stress 
of weather, and these men are clothed in this way, but the 
material varies : some have the *' Fear naught " blue serge, 
but others wear a rusty claret-coloured garment made of a 
blanket-like material ; and certainly the garb of these men 
bears a great resemblance to that of the figure of the 
Schipmah in the EUesmere MSS. 

" A daggere hangyng on a laas hadde he 
Aboute his nekke under his arm adoun." 

Probably there was more reason then for wearing a 
dagger than there would be now; but sailors of all 
nations even to-day (the Eoyal N'avy not excepted) carry 
knives of large size ; it is a re(^uisite part of their outfit. 
Foreigners, for the most part, wear their knives in a leather 
sheath behind the back; but sailors in the Eoyal ^N'avy 
carry theirs by. means of a cord hung round the neck. 

Chaucer evidently was well acquainted with the weak- 
ness sailors have for sampling the wines, &c., in the 
cargo : hence we have the lines — 

** Full many a draughte of wyn hadde he ydrawe 
From Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep." 

This system of petty theft is not, however, confined to 
the seafaring portion of our population, as we know by a 
similar weakness among railway porters. In the fourteenth 
century there was less excuse for plundering the property 
of the merchant for the sake of a draught of wine than 
would be in the case of our sailors to-day. It was the 
custom on the annual voyage to Bordeaux for wine, to 
allow the sailors to bring home a certain quantity of wine 
as their own venture ; and special regulations were in 
vogue to protect this right. Hence if they wanted to 
drink wine, it was just as easy to sample their own 
portion of the cargo, as that of the merchant. This 
voyage to Bordeaux to fetch wine was of very great 
importance. The vessels went in numbers, and formed 

460 XV. Chaucer's shipman. 

the wine fleet ; tlie reasons for which will be treated of 
later. There is ample evidence to show that a large 
amount of capital was employed in the importation of 
French wines (almost the only drink in the country), and 
the freight for them must have formed a large part of the 
annual revenue of the shipowner. 

The next item in Chaucer's description of the schip- 
man is one quite in keeping with the manners and 
customs of the period. 

" Of nyce conscience took he no keep. 
If that he f aughte, and hadde the heigher hand, 
By water he sente hem boom to every land." 

The state of the highway at sea must have been truly 
awful ; none but the strongest had the remotest chance of 
safety. It would seem as if the profession of a sailor 
consisted of two parts : first, such qualities and duties as 
would be defined to-day as good seamanship ; and secondly, 
the development and practice of all that is cruel and bad 
in our natures as evinced by murder and rapine. Doubt- 
less the wars of Edward III. had a good deal to do in 
bringing out the fighting element in British sailors, but 
those of other nations were just as bad. The State records 
of the period teem with complaints made by our kings to 
other potentates, or vice versa, in respect of acts of piracy 
committed by their respective subjects; and the replies 
sent were but too often couched in the tu quoque line of 
argument. It was not necessary for this country to be at 
war in order that English sailors should be entitled to 
prey on the marine of another country. Even when their 
respective rulers were on the most fraternal of terms, 
subjects lost no opportunity of slaughtering and plunder- 
ing one another. Matthew of Westminster says : " That 
in those days (Henry III.) there was neither king nor laws 
for sailors, but every one called his own whatever he 
could plunder and carry ofif." It can easily be imagined 
that in such a state of public opinion as this, piracy would 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 461 

be very prevalent;^ but the term then did not bear 
exactly the same shameful significance as it. does now. 
There was a very numerous class of seamen,^ at all events 
common to all the northern nations in Europe, whom we 
should call pirates or sea-robbers : they plundered friend 
and foe alike, and their fighting powers were but too often 
made use of by any ruler rich enough to pay them, and 
who would send them back to their own pursuits when 
he was able to dispense with their services. The pirate of 
one day might, by way of a change, be (the one degree 
milder) peaceful sailor of the morrow, or vice vei^sd. 
There is every reason to believe that when freights were 
scarce, a fi.libustering expedition on the opposite side of 
the Channel served to find the crews healthy and re- 
munerative employment, and kept them together until 
better times. Eyery foreigner was fair game, and he, in 
his turn, acted in the same way without scruple. In 
fact, the distinction between piracy and legitimate trading 
was so ill-defined at times as to be lost sight of 

Some ports rather prided themselves on what . we 
should call the evil reputation of their sailors. The men 
of the Cinque Ports were great adepts at this pursuit; 
'' they slew and plundered like pirates." ^ The people of 
Lynn earned for themselves quite an enviable notoriety 
by their piratical exploits about 1311. The men of 
Fowey were distinguished by their prowess, and were 
called the Eowey gallants.^ 

The town of Calais, for the same reason, must have 

* English nobles did not scruple to turn pirates if it answered 
their purpose. "After a time he (the younger Despenser, 1321,) 
went to sea, and * turned pyrate, robbing whatever English 
merchants he could meet with.'" See Longman's Lectures on 
Hist, of JEngland, vol. i. p. 404-. There are several other instances 
of this practice. 

2 Nicolas, of Royal Navy, vol. i. p. 241 and 357. 

' Matthew Paris. Bohn Ed. vol. i. p. 419. 
; ^ Daniells's Hist, of Cornwall, 2nd ed. p. 228, and Eobert's 
Social History, p. 76. 

462 XV. Chaucer's shipman. 

been a terrible tborn in tbe flesh of English commerce,^ long 
before Edward III. determined to make it a part of his 
territory. In 1316 a corn vessel belonging to the Kino" 
of England was seized by a Calais vessel, and carried into 
that port.2 In 1315 four vessels laden with wool from 
London to Antwerp were captured and taken to Calais.^ 
The same year an English ship, lying at low water on the 
beach at Margate, was boarded by Calais pirates, and 
eventually carried into that port, with the owner as 

Sometimes the Government would order restitution to 
be made; but it was one thing to order, and another 
to compel. On more than one occasion, notably in 1409, 
in. the case of the Hanse Towns, commissioners on both 
sides met, balanced the accounts of damage done, and 
settled the amount of compensation to be paid; this 
reached the sum of over 32,000 nobles, which our king 
undertook to pay.^ Another instance of these claims 
being settled, took place in 1333, between the English 
and Elemings.^ One mode of granting redress when 
complaints loud enough to reach the royal ear had been 
made, was to give the aggrieved individual Letters of 
Marque,^ and then allow him to help himself and take the 
law into his own hand. In the reign of Eiehard II. this 
practice was largely followed, not only for purposes of 
revenge, but also to allow English creditors to recover 
debts. There is a passage in the Libel of English 
Policy, which alludes to this. After describing the 
efforts made by Edward III. to induce the Duke of 
Brittany to curb the marauding habits of the men of 
St. Malo, the Lilel proceeds : 

^ Macpherson's Commerce^ vol. i. p. 481. 

2 Ibid. p. 482. 

3 Ibid. p. 481. 
^ Ibid, p. 623. 
5 Ibid. p. 509. 

® Lyndsay, Hist, of English Merchant Shijjping^ vol. i. p. 431 ; 
and Nicolas, vol. i. p. 357. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 463 

" He did dewise 
Of English Towns three, that is to say, 
Dertmouth, Plymouth^ the third it is Fowey : 
And ^ave them help and notable puisance 
Upon pety Bretayne for to werre." ^ 

And truly the Dartmouth men seemed to have utilized the 
occasion. In 1.385 they brought away some rich vessels ^ 
from the mouth of the Seine, one of which, called ^Clisson's 
barge,' is supposed not to have had its equal at the time in 
England or France ; and in 1386 a merchant of Dartmouth^ 
attacked and captured 32 vessels laden with wine. - 

Another mode of obtaining satisfaction was the curious 
custom of seizing the goods and persons of the fellow- 
countryman of the offender, and keeping them until the 
damage done had been paid for : and this practice held 
good nearly everywhere, in spite of treaties and mutual 
agreements to the contrary. 

If the English sailors confined their plundering habits 
to the detriment of foreigners only, it would have been bad 
enough; but the following instances show how very im- 
partial they were in their confiscations, and that they did 
not spare their own countrymen. 

In 1314, WilHam de Huntingdon* complained to the 
king, that he had gone to the port of Dublin with his ship 
and cargo, and that while there, John de Lung, of Eristol, 
" et quidem alii malefaciores et piratcB,''^^ had captured his 
ship and its contents and afterwards burnt it. 

"William de Forbernard, a Gascon, was stopped off the 
Foreland by Peter Bert of Sandwich, Gervays Alard of 
"Winchelsea, and Eobert Cleves of Greenwich, and robbed 
by them of over eighteen tuns of wine.^ 

In 1322, two merchants of Sherborne, in Dorset, com- 
plained that when their ship, laden with cloth and canvas,'' 

' Libel of English Policy in Hackluyt's Voyages, yol. i, 
^ Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 298, ^ 2Ud. p. 329. 

* Ibid. vol. i. p. 358. * Ibid. vol. 1. p. 359. 

« Ibid. 7 Ibid, 

464 XV. Chaucer's shipman, 

was off Portsmoutli, she was boarded by Eobert de 
Battayle, and others of the Cinque Ports, and eighty 
pounds' worth of her cargo carried away. 

In 1324, the ' Annot' of Ditton, laden with fish for the 
king, was boarded near Lynne,i by John Eussell and others 
of Spalding, who killed her crew, and took the vessel to 
Seaford, where the ship and cargo were sold. 

During the year 1321-2 the merchants of Chester com- 
plained to the Earl of Chester (asking him to forward their 
petition to the king) '' qe cum il envoyent leur servauntes 
en diverses parties outre meer, c'est asaver en Gascoigne, 
ISTormandi, Irlaund, pur acheter vyns, blez, e autres mar- 
chaundises pur la sustenaunce de la dite cit^. e du poeple 
de meymes les parties, e frettint neefs de mener les dites 
vitailles e marchaundises jesques a la Havene de Cestre, 
queux neefs si tost come les aryvint en les parties de ]^orth 
Gales, sunt arreatez e attachez par Sire Adam de Wotten- 
hall, chaumberleyn notre Seigneur le Eoi en ces parties, 
par, malevoillaunce q'il ad divers les gentez de Cestre. E 
aucuns des mariners e marchaunz,. par les servaunz le dit 
Adam, par commaundement de li, battiez, mauffrez e en 
plusours autres maners malement demenez." — Eolls of P* ; 
tip. 413. 

The city of Chester would not have tamely submitted 
to Sir Adam de Wottenhairs outrages, but for the fact that 
he stood high in the king's favour; and consequently 
enlisted their earl's interest as a set-off against Sir Adam. 
There must have been a special reason for their not taking 
the law in their own hands. 

ITow it must not be supposed that the men thus 
accused of what we should to-day call piracy, were simply 
seamen and nothing more. Some of them, at least, were 
men of importance in their calling. Peter Bert, or Bard, in 
1314, commanded a fleet for the king ;2 Gervase Alard had 
command of a fleet in a Scottish expedition in 1 300 ; ^ and 
^ Nicolas, vol. i. p. 361. ^ Ibid. p. 395. ^ Ibid, p. 410. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 465 

Eoberfc Battayle was an eminent seaman ,i Mayor of Win- 
chelsea in 1335, but often complained of on account of his 
marauding habits. Later on, things were pretty much the 
same in this respect. We find notices of men like the 
Hauleys of Dartmouth ^ being summoned to appear before 
the Privy Council for nothing more nor less than piracy ;^ 
and the celebrated Harry Pay, offensive to Spanish mer- 
chants, Prendergast, Wilford, and Eust ^ (who died trying 
to save Sir John Arundel), were all, at times, simply free- 
booters, and at others holding office under, or fighting for, 
the Government. 

In addition to fighting the national foes, either for the 
king, or on his own behalf, not to mention occasional 
piracy, the English sailor found frequent reasons for coming 
to blows in the animosities which existed between the 
natives of different English sea-ports. The Admiral of a 
large flotilla must have found it very difficult to prevent 
his various contingents from fighting their own private 
battles, instead of the king's. In 1297, while at Sluys^ in 
the presence of the enemy, the men of the Cinque Ports 
and of Yarmouth fell out, and twenty-five Yarmouth ships 
were burnt and their crews killed. Camden, writing of 
Yarmouth,^ says, that (1340) the citizens walled the town 
around, '* and became so rich and powerful, that they often 
engaged the men of Lowestoft in sea-fights, with great 
slaughter on both sides." 

In 1321 the king tried to make peace between the 
mariners of the Cinque Ports, '^ Poole, Weymouth, Lyme,; 
and Southampton, which led to murders, robbery, and 
burning of ships. 

In 1336 a Scotch fleet ^ captured a number of English 
vessels lying at anchor off the Isle of Wight, and plundered 

^ Nicolas, vol. i. p. 420. 

^ Michel, Histoii'e de Commerce^ vol. i. p. 82-92. 

3 Nicolas, vol. il. p. 351. * Ihid. p. 462. ^ Ibid. vol. i. p. 280. 

® Camden's Bi^itannia (1722), vol. i. p. 466. 

■'' Nicolas, vol. i. p. 336, ^ Macpherson, vol. i. p. 515, 


Jersey and Gruernsey, wliiie the seamen of the king's ships 
were quarrelling among themselves, and robbing vessels 
belonging to' English subjects, or to foreigners in friendship 
with their king. 

In the same year, it was necessary to take great pre- 
cautions to prevent the YaTmouth and Cinqiie Ports' con- 
tingents ^ from coming in contact while forming part of a 
fleet on a Scottish expedition. Yery shortly afterwards the 
king had to take measures to prevent the seamen of Little 
Yarmouth and Gorleston from fighting with those of Great 
Yarmouth while on similar service. 

In 1342 the principal inhabitants of Yarmouth were 
fined a thousand marks for committing trespasses, ^ and 
other unwarrantable acts on the sea-coast. 

In 1385 the English Admiral dared not attack the 
French fleet ^ on account of the dissensions existing among 
the various contingents of his own fleet. Cowardice was 
out of the question ; for on this very occasion the Ports- 
mouth and Dartmouth men, ''hired by none, bought by 
none, but spurred on by their own valour and innate 
courage," as Walsingham says, with a very small force, 
made great havoc among the French ships in the Seine, 
sinking four and capturing four, one of which was worth 
20,000 florins. 

There were certain expeditions on which it was quite 
impossible to venture except in such numbers as would 
defy attack. It was the custom to go to Bordeaux once a 
year to fetch wine; and Eroissart describes a fleet of "Deux 
cents nefs d'une voile,^ marchans d'Angleterre et de Galles 
et d'Ecosse," who had come together for the sate of the 
safety which is supposed to lie in numbers. And the 
numbers seemed to be enormous. In 1350^ no less than' 
1350 vessels laden with 13,429 tuns of wine sailed from 

* Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 17. 

^. Roberts, Social Hist, of Southern Oonnties, p. 76. 

' Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 297. ^ See Michel, vol, i, p. o2, 

^ Macplierson, vol. i. p. 64], 

XY. ohauger's shipman. 167 

Bordeaux. Sometimes an officer of the king was appointed 
to accompany this fleet, and arrange for its safety. A 
charge was made to pay the necessary expenses of the 
convoy, and this was fixed by Parliament (1347 and 1350) 
' at a shilling per sack of wool taken there, and forty pennies 
sterling for every tun of wine shipped on board an English, 
"Welsh, or Irish vessel,^ or on board any foreign vessel 
bound for England, Wales, or Scotland. This tax was the 
origin of what became so obnoxious in later times — tonnage 
and poundage. 

Pirates in large numbers were frequently on the look- 
out to waylay the yearly wine fleet, and made great plunder. 
The members of the fleet were obliged to support each 
other in case of attack ; and when a loss happened from 
the cowardice of such as took to their heels instead of 
fighting, the fugitives were compelled to compensate the 
owners of the lost vessels.^ 

Occasionally the fleet would do a little wholesale fight- 
ing with the wine fleet of some other nation, which they 
met and fell out with at Bordeaux. In 1390 there had 
been a quarrel between the English and Norman sailors;^ 
and the Governor of Bordeaux thought it requisite to call 
the captains of both sides together, and make them swear 
to, what we now call, keep the peace towards one another, 
not only at Bordeaux, but, what he thought of as much 
importance, after they had left the port. When the 
English received their cargoes, they set sail, and went their 
way in the most peaceful manner in detachments of fours, 
fives, sixes, &c. The K^ormans, however, suspected that 
the English would meet outside the Gironde, and lie in 
wait.; so before leaving the port, they prepared their ships, 
eighty in number, for the anticipated fight, by erecting 
castles fore and aft, and on the mast, and then started in 
company. There are many records of these wine fleets 

* Macpherson, vol. i. p. 537 and 640. ^ Michel, vol. i, p. 56. 
3 Ibid. p. 99, 

468 XV. chauoer's shipman. 

coming in collision on the way to, as weir as coming from, 
Bordeaux; and this happy state does not seem to have 
been influenced by the fact of peace or war existing between 
their respective nations. 

A royal navy, in the modern sense of the term, did not 
exist. Of the 738 ships at the siege of Calais, only 25 
belonged to the king, and these did^ not carry on the 
average 17 men apiece. The Cinque Ports were obliged 
by the feudal tenure,^ upon forty days' notice, to supply 57 
ships, with 21 men and a boy in each, for fifteen days once 
a year : this, however, could have been of but little service 
except in time of war. There were other towns, which in 
return for their municipal privileges, were bound by their 
charters to keep a ship or ships always ready for the king's 
service ; and as this must have been a great expense, other 
ports in the vicinity were obliged to pay their share. 
The south coast of Devon seems to have been divided into 
three districts : Exeter was the centre of one, and had as 
contributory towns, Topsham, Kenton, Lympstone, Pow- 
derham, and Exmouth.^ Dartmouth came next, with 
Totnes, Brixham, Porfclemouth, and Kingsbridge : while 
to the west was Plymouth (or Sutton as it was then called), 
with Plympton, Modbury, ^Newton Perrers, and Yalmouth, 
A.D. 1310. This mode of making towns provide or help to 
provide ships was the origin of the ship money question in 
the days of Charles I. 

In order to ascertain the maritime resources of the 
nation, what may be called IS'aval Parliaments were some- 
times held in London; when the king's ministers met 
representatives from the various seaports, and so learned 
the number of ships and men it was possible to obtain 
from each.^ 

Impressment, however, was what the Government 

^ Cutts, Scenes and Characters of the Middle Ages, p. 480. See 
also Nicolas, vol. i. p. 299. 

2 Nicolas, vol. i. p. 382. 

3 Hot. Park vol. ii. p. 457. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 469 

relied on, to supply its naval requirements.^ It was 
assumed tliat every ship and sailor was at tlie disposal of 
the king whenever he demanded their services ; and there 
are numerous notices in the Eecords, of orders being sent 
to produce so many ships and men, at a certain spot, 
within so many days, for the king's service. If the town 
showed any reluctance to oT^ey, an order would be issued 
'* to arm, equip, and send to sea, all the ships in the 
port," 2 as happened in the case of the city of London 
in 1336, 

A striking instance of the king's claim of right to the 
service of the merchant ships, appears in a letter of Edward 
II. to the King of Norway, upon the detention of three 
English ships.3 This letter ho concludes by saying, "That 
he cannot quietly put up with the vessels belonging to 
his kingdom, wliicli ought at all times to he ready for Ms . 
sei'vices, being detained in foreign countries.'' In fact, 
the ships and sailors of the kingdom constitated a sort of 
naval militia, to be drawn on according to the require- 
ments of the moment ; and when finished with, dismissed 
at once to their respective ports. The men were just as 
much at the disposal of the king, as the ships ; for the 
king's admirals had authority to choose as many men as 
they might want, and to imprison, or otherwise punish, 
those who were disobedient or deserted."* 

Of systematic guard of the coast, there was none. 
Occasionally the king sent small fleets into particular 
districts to meet some want of the season ; as, for instance, 
in 1379 two ships, two barges, and two ballingers, properly 
fitted for war, were sent to guard the east coast, because 
the French had, in two years, extracted over a thousand 
pounds from the port of Scarborough: To meet the cost 
of this fleet, a duty of sixpence per ton was levied on 

* Nicolas, vol. i. p. 391—403. 

' Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 15 ; see also ibid, vol. 1. p. 301, 

' Macpherson, vol. i, p. 477. 

* Nicolas, vol, 1. p. 403. 


470 , XV. Chaucer's shipman. 

every sMp leaving or entering tlie ports on this coast; 
fishing vessels and iNTewcastle colliers to pay in the same 

Towards the end of the fourteenth century, the reins 
of ' government having fallen into very feeble hands, 
the police of the . sea was shamefully neglected ; and 
instances are recorded of foreigners insulting and plunder- 
ing our coasts. In September 1380 four French galleys 
went up the Thames as far as Gravesend, burnt part of 
the town, plundered and destroyed on both sides of the 
river ; and finally carried off their prey and prisoners with 
impunity.2 On another occasion, a combined fleet of 
French and Spanish galleys, after gathering a harvest of 
plunder on our coasts,^ were making their way home laden 
with booty, when a fleet of west country merchants was 
quickly organized, sent out in pursuit, and, coming up 
with the enemy, effectually put a stop to their marauding 
expedition. Another well-known instance of a subject 
doing the king's duty, occurred in 1378. A Scotchman 
named John Mercer,^ had gathered together a number of 
Scotch, French, and Spaniards, and for a time did pretty 
much as he pleased on the eastern coast; among other 
exploits capturing certain Scarborough ships, and killing 
the captains and crews. The weak rule of Kichard II. 
could afford no redress ; and John Philpott, a citizen and 
once Lord Mayor of London, hired ships and 1000 
armed inen, and set out to meet Mercer, whom he 
defeated, and thus recovered the Scarborough ships ; 
while at the same time he captured fifteen Spanish wine 
ships which had gone to the assistance of the Scotchman. 
This gallant action was not appreciated at court, and 
Philpott was called before the Council, when he was 
severely rebuked by the Earl of Stafford. Philpott's 
reply was as creditable as his exploit. He said : " I did 

* Macpherson, vol. i. p. 589. ^ lUd, vol. i. p. 590. 

3 Nicolas, vol. 11. p. 288. * Ibid. vol. ii. p. 270. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 471 

not expose myself, my money, and my men to tlie dangers 
of the sea, that I might deprive you or your colleagues of 
your knightly fame, nor acquire it for myself ; but from 
pity for the misery of the people and the country, -which 
from having been a noble realm, with dominion over other 
nations, has, through your supineness, become exposed to 
the ravages of the vilest race ; and since you would not 
lift a hand for its defence, I exposed myself and my 
property for the safety and deliverance of our country." 
To this taunting speech the Earl had not a word to answer. 
This state of affairs explains why the Merchant of the 
Prologue — 

*^ — wolde the see were kept for eny thinge 
Betwixe Middleburgh and Orewelle." ^ 

When Henry lY. usurped the crown, the state of the 
seas around our coast was so bad as to cause grave 
anxiety to all those who had any interest in foreign trade; 
and in order to meet the pressing need of the time (1406) 
the entire guardianship of the sea was entrusted to the 
merchants.^ They were empowered to choose two fit 
persons, whom the king would commission as admirals; 
and to recompense the owners of the necessary vessels 
employed, they were entitled to levy a duty of three 
shillings per tun on all wines imported that year, and 
twelve pence per pound on the value of all merchandise 
exported or imported; together with the fourth part of 
the then existing subsidies on wool and leather. 

One would suppose that with this ever-recurring 
opportunity for fighting, the mutual relations of masters, 
men, and owners, were conducted on the same principle; 
but such was not the case. System and law were well 
defined in all matters concerning ship and crew, crew and 
master, and both with the owners.' A code of laws called 

* Prologue, 276. See also "The See wel kept it must be for 
drede." — Hackluyt, i. 204. 

* For details of this contract, see Macpherson, vol. i. p. 616, and 

Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 384. 

' 2 H 2 

472 XV. Chaucer's shipmait. 

*' Eoles d'Oleron " (by some credited to Eichard I.) was in 
common use ; and was evidently founded on custom and 
justice. This code was afterwards modified and altered 
to suit the requirements of different times and different 
lands ; but there was the code, and it seems to have been 
recognized, Space will not allow anything more than a 
mere notice here, but the whole code is well worth perusal,^ 
as it throws much light on the manners and customs of the 
time. Some of the articles are curious ; the following, for 
example : 

The master might sell the tackle, &c., of his ship to 
procure food for his seamen, provided a majority of the 
crew consented. When a vessel lay in port waiting for 
wind to depart, the master was bound to consult the 
crew, and be guided by the majority as to whether the 
wind was suited for sailing. If he acted contrary to 
their views, he became responsible to the owners of the 
vessel and cargo for any loss which might follow from 
his action. Crews were bound to do their utmost to 
gave the vessel and cargo, and were liable to loss of wages 
if they refused. Sailors were not allowed to leave the 
vessel without the master's consent; and if damages 
accrued by reason of their absence, they were liable to a 
year's imprisonment on bread and water. For desertion 
they might be branded on the face with a hot iron. A 
sailor could only break his contract for certain specified 
reasons,^ namely, on being appointed captain or mate of 
another vessel, his having made a vow to make a 
pilgrimage to St. James's, Jerusalem, or Eome, and strange 
to say, getting married. The master could dismiss a 
sailor for incompetency, or when suffering from an 
infectious distemper, or if he was a quarrelsome or frac- 
tious fellow. Drunkenness, quarrelling, and fighting were 

* See Black BooTt of Admiralty, by Sir Francis Twiss, Eolls 
Series, vol. i. p. 89, et seq^. Also Lyndsay's Merchant Shipping^ 
vol. i. p. 392. 

2 BlacTi Booh, vol. iv. p. 531, et seq. 


severely punislied. Mariners wounded in tlie service of 
the ship were provided for, and if it was necessary in 
case of sickness to land a sailor, provision for his care 
and nursing were to be made. Yery strict regulations 
were in force for keeping the peace on board ship ; and the 
master's right to strike a sailor was fully recognized. If 
a pilot contrived to injure a ship while taking her into port, 
he was compelled to pay for the damage or lose his head. 

There is a somewhat Draconian code of laws,^ said to 
have been compiled for the benefit of pilgrims while on 
board ship : 

I. If a man kills another in the ship, he shall be 
fastened to the corpse and thrown into the sea. 

II. If he commits murder on the land, he shall be bound 

to the dead man and buried with him. 
III. If any one shall have been convicted by lawful 
witnesses of having drawn his knife to strike another, 
or shall have actually done so, to the effusion of 
blood, he shall lose his hand ; but he who shall 
strike another with the palm of his hand, without 
shedding blood, shall be three times ducked in the 

lY. If any one shall abuse, insult, or privately slander 
his fellow, he shall pay an ounce of silver for every 

Y. A robber convicted of theft shall be shaved in the 
manner of a champion, and boiling pitch poured 
upon his head, and the feathers of a pillow shaken 
over his head to distinguish him, and be landed at 
the first port where the ship shall stop. 

The wages paid to seamen depended very much on the 
nature of the voyage for which they were engaged, and it 
seems that part payment was made by allowing .the 
seaman to have a share in the venture. This, of course, 
gave him a more lively interest in the safety of the ship 
and cargo, as well as the duration of the voyage. 

From the port of London fco Lisbon ^ the payment 

' Fosbroke's British Monachism, p. 331. 

^ See Inquisition taken at Queenborow, 1375, in Twiss, Black 
Book of Admiralty^ vol. 1. p. 133, et seq^. 


made was 20,9. per ton; from London to Bayonne, 10/?. 
per ton; from London to Bordeaux and Eochelle, in 
vintage time, Ss. wages, and tlie carriage of one tun of 
wine ; and at other times 75. wages, and the carriage of a 
pipe of wine. 

The annual Toyage to fetch wine evidently caused a 
great demand for seamen, and a higher price was expected, 
just as in the case of harvest labourers to-day. This 
voyage, too, was a dangerous expedition, on account of the 
pirates who were always on the look-out to capture stray 

From London to Bourgneuf Bay, south of the Loire, 
to fetch salt, 55. wages and three-quarters of salt carried 

. Between London and Ireland, IO5. wages and the 
carriage of three dickers of hides (dicker == half a score). 

Between London and Calais, 55. wages and no carriage. 
„ „ Flanders, 65. wages „ „ 

„ „ Sluys, 2O5. wages, and to each 

three mariners the carriage of a last of herrings (a last of 
herrings in Edward IIL's time was 10,000 fish). . 

Between London and Skone, 85. 4:d, wages, and to each 
three mariners the carriage of a last of herrings. 

Between London and JSTewcastle-on-Tyne, 45. wages, 
and the carriage of two quarters of coal. 

Between London and Berwick, 85. wages, which were 
to he paid him at Berwick, so that he might '* buy such 
merchandise as he shall think good ; " and this was to be 
brought home free of carriage. 

When the ship was hired to carry troops, ^ the wages 
paid were, sixpence per day to the master, and threepence 
to the mariner : and considering the relative value of 
money, this seems very high. In seasons when food was 
unusually dear, this pay was increased by another penny a 
day, and these wages were paid to the master and sailors 

^ Issue Eoll of Thomas de Brantingham, 44 Edward III. 

XV. ohauoer's shipman. 475 

on board tlie flotilla sent by the Cinque Ports in com- 
pliance with their feudal tenure. 

One of the earKest allusions to national colours/ 
and ship's papers, found in the English Eecords, is in 
1297, when the King of England and the Earl of Flanders 
agreed in a treaty that all the vessels belonging to their 
dominions, should carry colours on which were the arms of 
their respective sovereigns; and that all vessels should 
have letters patent, sealed with the common seal of the 
town to which they belonged, to testify that they 
really belonged to such towns. Soon after this we find 
notices of pirates carrying false colours to delude their 

Cargoes were stowed by persons specially qualified, 
just as in the case of the stevedore to-day. 

When horses were taken on board, the stern of the 
vessel was brought round to the quay, and a bridge laid, 
over which they could walk. On board, temporary stalls 
were made by means of clays (a kind of hurdle made of 

In order to carry passengers, especially pilgrims, a 
license was requisite; and for their convenience small 
cabins were temporarily erected, which, apparently, from 
the following verse of an old English (fourteenth century) ^ 
ballad, were weak in structure : 

* Macpherson, vol. i. p. 461. 

* Soiuetimes the horses were placed below decks, as described 
by Joinville : " The day we embarked, the door of the vessel was ' 
opened, and the horses were led inside that we were to take with, 
us J then they fastened the door, and closed it up tightly, as when 
one sinks a cask, because when the ship is at sea the whole of 
the door is under water. When the horses were in, our sailing- 
master called out to his mariners, who were at tbe prow, * Are you 
all ready ? ' and they replied, * Sir, let the clerks and priests come 
forward ! ' As soon as they had come nigh, we shouted to them, 

* Chant, in God's namel' And they, with one voice, chanted, 

* Veni, Creator Spiritus.' Then the master cried to his men, ' Set 
sail, in God's name I ' and they did so." — Masson's French 
CJironieleSj p. 140. 

3 Early English Text Society Pub. 1867, TJie Pilgrim's Sea 

476 XV. Chaucer's shipman. 

" And he calleth a carpentere, 
And, biddy th hym bryng with hym hys gere, 
To make the cabans * here and there, 
With many a febyll cell." 

Evidently on the voyage to St. Jago, the passengers 
were well looked after, for in the same ballad we have the 
following liiie : 

" Steward, felow, a pot of here I 
Ye shall have, ser, with good cheer 
Anone, all of the best." 

The steward, theii, is not .a modern institution. Then 
again, the following: 

" Steward, cover the boorde, anone, 
And set bred and salt thereon." 

And as if to indicate that they were accustomed to 
sea-sick passengers, we find : 

^ /'Thys mene whyle, the pilgrims ly, 
And thyr bowlys f ast theym by, 
And cry after bote malvesy, 

- Them help for to restore." 

A supply of bowls, then, must have been on board, 
and means of firing, or else how could hot malvesy have 
l)een procured to assuage the pangs of sea-sickness ] 

Instances have already been given of the speed with 
whichi a merchant ship could be got ready for fighting. 
This process was not a very difficult matter. There was 
a special class of artisan called " castlewrights," whose 
business it was to erect castles on bow and stern, and on 
the top of the mast. The last-named was called the 
topcastle, that on the bow the forecastle, and that on the 
gtern the aftcastle or oftcastle. The part occupied by the 
forecastle was called the forestage. 

" He danced for joy on the forestage." * 

The mode of fighting at sea varied with each period. 

* Cabins. See also Boccaccio's Decameron^ Day 2, No. vii. 
2 Merchant's Second Tale, v. 2199. 

Ships from French Chroniques d'Angleterre, Vol.lll. leaP 49 back 

Royal MS, 14, E 4, ab 1470. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 477 

The following account (1217) relates how the English and 
French fought : "The English, who are noted for their 
expertness in maritime warfare/ began the attack by a 
dreadful discharge of arrows from cross-bowmen and 
archers; and having got the wind of their enemy, they 
rushed upon them with the iron beaks of their galleys, 
whereby many of. the Erench ships were sunk. They 
also availed themselves of their situation to windward, by 
throwing pulverized quicklime into the Erench ships, 
whereby the men were blinded." 

In 1340, Edward III. fought a Erench fleet in which 
were several Spanish and Genoese vessels ; this battle 
took place at Swyn, on the coast of Elanders.^ '*Ear]y in 
the morning the Erench fleet got up their anchors, and 
advanced a mile to meet the English ; who, having the 
wind of them, bore down to the attack, which they com- 
menced with a shower of arrows, and afterwards closed in 
with them and fought with stones thrown from the tops, 
and with pikes, poll-axes, and swords. The English made 
but little impression upon the lofty ships of Spain, but 
caused great carnage in the Erench vessels." 

In 1372, in a battle off Eochelle, the English were 
defeated by these same large Spanish ships .^ Eroissart 
says : *' The English formed their line of battle, and 
placed their archers in front. When they came to close 
quarters, the Spaniards flung out grappling-hooks with 
chains of iron, which fastened the English ships to theirs, 
so that they could not separate. The English defended 
themselves with spears, swords, and other weapons, 
fighting desperately, but the Spaniards had too much th« 
advantage, as their vessels were larger and higher above 
the water than the English, and from which they flung 
down stones, bars of iron, and lead." 

Authorities quoted, Macpherson, vol. i, p. 383. 

* Ibid. vol. 1. p. 527. 
^ Froissart, by Johnes, vol. i. p. 471, et %eg^ 

478 XV. Chaucer's shipman. 

The memoirs of Du Guesclin say that fire-ships were 
first used in this engagement by the Spaniards, and by 
their means thirteen English ships were destroyed. ^ 

In all these accounts, archery is the principal means 
relied on ; and at close quarters stones, &c. were thrown 
from the topcastle on to the deck of the enemy, and then 
the ordinary fight of a melee took place. Here (1372) is 
no notice of cannon or powder, and yet we know that 
these things were in use at sea. Among the stores 
supplied to the barge 'Mary of the Tower' in 1338,2 
were an iron cannon with two chambers, and another of 
brass with one chamber, as well as powder, iron spoons to 
make bullets, and other requisites for artillery practice. 

Chaucer was acquainted with cannons and their use, 
for in the House of Fame, 552, Book iii., he says : 

" As swift as pellit out of gonne 
When fire is in the powder ronne." 

In the Pardoner and Tapster the following lines 

occur, 241 : 

" For shot of arbalast and of bo we, 
And eke for shot of gonne." 

There is another allusion to artillery in T7ie Romaimt 
of the Rose, 4191. But in the legend of Cleopatra, with a 
tremendous abuse of poetic license, Chaucer ^ describes the 
sea fight between Augustus and Antony, and among other 
instruments of warfare mentions cannon, 257 : 

'^ And painin hem to set on with the sunne, 
With grisly soune out goith the grete gonne, 
And hertily thei hurtlin al at ones, 
And fro the top doune comith the grete stones, 
In goth Ihe grapinel so f ul of crokes, 
Among the ropis ran the shering hokes, 
In with the polaxe presith he and he 
Behinde the maste beginnith he to fle, 
And out againe, and drivith him or borde, 
He stickith him upon his speris orde, 

^ Foot note at p. 472. Froissart's Chron. 
2 ;t;[icolas, vol. ii. p. 186. 


He rent the saile with hokis like a sithe, 
He bringeththe cuppe, and biddith hem be blith, 
He pourith pesen upon the hatchis slider, 
With pottis f ul of lime, thei gon togither, 
And thus the longe daie in fight thei spende/' 

In spite of the "grisly sonne" of the ^'grete gonne'' so 
naively described by Chaucer, it is very doubtful if 
cannons were much in use in naval warfare in the four- 
teenth, century. Generally speaking, the English had it all 
their own way on sea, provided their ships were of the same 
dimensions as those of the enemy ; but the Spanish and 
Genoese were very much larger, and prowess was not an 
equivalent for height, hence occasional defeat. 

Although there is no evidence in Chaucer's works that 
the compass was in use on board ship, there is enough 
to show that he knew of the properties of the magnet. 
In the Assembly of Foides, 148, are the following lines : 

" Right as betwixte adamentis two, 
Of evin wight, a pece of yron set. 
He hath no might, to movin to ne fro, 
For what that one male hale, that other let." 

And the division of the compass is surely indicated ia the 
following. KnigMs Tale, 1. 1031 : 

" Round was the shape in manere of a compass, 
Ful of degrees the hight of sixty pas." 

And in his Astrolohie} allusion is made to the Schipman 
reckoning thirty-two points of the horizon, which seems to 
indicate the modern divisions of the compass. 

In the Merchant's Second Tale, description is given of 
the helpless condition of some sailors because, on accpitnt 
of the weather, the pole star was invisible, 1. 836 ; 

"For they were cleen in dispeyr, because they myghte not se 
The loder where by these schipmen their course take eche one." 

Chaucer alludes to the 'lodestan' in the KnigMs Tale, 1201, 
and in Troilus ^ Creside, Book v. 232, 1391, but only in 

* Urry's Chancer, p. 448. " For to know the signet," et seq. 

480 XV. Chaucer's shipman. 

a poetical sense. Although the compass is not exactly 
described by him. the lode-stone was in common nse in his 
time, and had been for many years. In 1306, Eobert, 
King of Scotland, while crossing from Arran to the coast 
of Carrick in the night-time, steered by a fire on the shore. 

" For thay na nedil had nore Stane." * 
This very description is used in the ^ Balade in dispraise of 
Women,' formerly, but wrongly, attributed to Chaucer : 

" So happy is ther lodemenage 
With nedle and stone ther cours to dresse." 

.. Sir John Maundeville, who began his wonderful voyages 
in 1322, alludes to the lode-stone as "the Schipmannes^ 
Ston that drawethe the nedle to him." ^ There are many 
interesting notices of the use of some simple form of the 
compass: or rather of the employment of the magnetised 
needle, when the polar star was invisible. Guiot de Pro- 
vence, writing in the early part of the thirteenth century, 
distinctly mentions this in the following lines from, his 


" Quand le mer est obscure et brune 
Con ne voit estoile ne lune 
Bont font a Taquille alumer 
Puis n'ont il garde d'esgarer: 
Contra I'estoile va la points 
Per ce sont le marinier cointe 
De la droite voie tenir." 

And in a fragment of a song in the thirteenth century, 
mention is made of steering by the polar star (tixs mon- 
taigne),^ and also the mode of using a needle touched by 
the magnet (aimant). 

*' Qui une aguille de f er boute 
Si qu'ele pert presque toute 
En-j-poi de leige et I'atise 
A la pierre d'aimant bise, 

' See quotation in Macpherson, vol. i. p. 365. 
' Voyages of Sir John Maundeville, ed. Halliwell, p. 161. 
' See quotation in Jal., ArclicBologie Navale^ vol. 1. p. 206. 
♦ Ibid. vol. i. p. 209. 


S'eii-j-vaissel plain d'yaue est mise, 

Si que nus hors ne la deboute, 

Si tost comme I'yaue s'aerise 

Car dous quel part la pointe vise 

La tres montaigne est la sans doute." 

From these quotations, and other evidence in plenty, it 
would appear that when the pole star was invisible, a 
primitive compass was made by fixing in a cork a needle 
which had been touched by the magnet, and floating it in 
a vessel of water. Hugh de Berry (thirteenth century)' says 
the sailors, in the dark night, to avoid losing their route, 
lighted a candle to observe the needle every now and then. 
Among the stores supplied to the barge 'Mary of the 
Tower '1 in 1338, were two sailing needles and a dial. 

The rudder was commonly in use by the end of the 
thirteenth century, though the old-fashioned plan of 
steering by a long oar,^ took a considerable time to die out. 

Seldom, but one sail was used, though greater speed 
was obtained by an additional sail called a 'bonnet' 
In the Merchanfs Second Ttile, these bonnets are men- 
tioned, 886: ,.-. ,. 

*' Lodisman 

Stere onys into the costis as well as thou can ; 

When our schippis be ycom, that we now pass in fere, 

Lace on a bonnet or tweyn, that we may mowe sail nere.** 

This term 'bonnet' is still in use, and is applied to a 
small short sail, fastened below a larger one by a method 
called ' lacing.* 

It was customary to paint the sails more or less splen- 
didly ; at all events, those of the wealthy were so treated. 
The ship in which Eichard II. came from Ireland had a 
sail, on which was represented a flaming sun. In fact, a 
large amount of money was spent in adorning the ships in 
which great personages embarked. Froissart, speaking of 
the French fleet in 1386, prepared for the invasion of 
England, says : " Each Lord ^ strove to have his vessel the 

* Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 180. ' Ibid. vol. i. p. 370. 
® Proissart, Johnes, vol. ii. p. 177. 

482 .XV. Chaucer's shipman^ 

best supplied, and more ornamented -with painting and 
gilding, and with their arms emblazoned on them and on 
the flags. The masts were painted from top to bottom, 
and some were covered with sheets of fine gold. Sir 
Gny de la Tremouille expended two thousand francs in 
ornamenting and painting his ship." 'In The Golden 
Targe, by Dunbar, a ship is seen approaching in a vision, 
whose sail is like the "blossoms upon the spray," ^ and 
whose masts are of pure gold, bright as the "star of. 
day.'* This mode of decoration was of course only employed 
for the war-ships of wealthy nobles : such ornamentation 
would be sadly out of place under the ordinary wear and 
tear of the mercantile marine. 

The variety of ships in use in the fourteenth century was 
very great, though it is impossible now to recognize exactly 
what they all were. Those built in IlTorthern Europe were 
much smaller than those from the Mediterranean^ and. the 
ports of Spain ; an instance of this has been already given, 
p. 477. It was only in the reign of Henry Y. that attempts 
were made to build ships fit to cope with the Spaniards. 
The Cog is the species most often mentioned,^ and it was. 
probably the largest in English waters : a large Cog, the 
' Christopher,' was about 300 tons. The crew of the Cog 
' Thomas,' consisted of the master, two constables, two car- 
penters, 124 sailors, and eight boys. The number of men 
on board, when destined for war, was supposed by one 
authority to be 65 men to every 100 tons of burthen, 
besides soldiers and sailors who were generally equal in 
number ; ^ thus a ship with 50 mariners would carry 50 
combatants, 25 archers, and 25 soldiers. The vessel 
mentioned by Chaucer was a barge : 

" His barge y-cleped was the Maudelayne." 
The Barge resembled the Cog very much; generally 
speaking, it was a smaller edition of the same, though it 

^ Quoted in Warton's English Poetry : Hazlitt, vol. ill. p. 211. 
^ Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 158. ^ Ibid. 

4^ '.^I'H^ '^ 

Ships From ihe French roraance oF Alexander (about 1425.) leaF 20 

Royal MS. 20. B. XX. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 483 

is very difficult to come to any conclusion as to the sizes 
of vessels by judging of their class only. There is a 
mention in 1374 of a barge called the *Paul/ which had 
80 sailors ; and another the * George/ with 60 sailors ; a 
third as having 20 to 30 archers, as many soldiers, and 
70 to 80 sailors.^ 'Now a vessel which would take 140 to 
150 men would be of very respectable dimensions. It is 
just probable that rowing ^ was as much relied on as sailing; 
and consequently much larger crews would be necessary 
than with vessels of a corresponding size to-day. 

From illuminations, Cogs and Barges appear very 
nearly round, indeed, the word . Gog is supposed to be 
derived from cockle, because of the resemblance of the 
Cog to the cockle-shell. They had very broad bows and 
sterns, which were raised out of the water, leaving the 
mid-ships very low; in fact, not much above the water's- 
edge.^ They had but one mast, and that in one piece; 
strong enough indeed to support a wooden castle on 
the top.^ 

Chaucer bears high testimony to the sailor-like qualities 
of his schipman : — 

'* But of his craft to reckne well his tydes." 

He knew how many feet of water his vessel would draw 
according to the quantity of cargo on board, and conse- 
quently how near ashore she might with safety be taken. 
And his ^ herbergh,' or the berth in which he placed his 
ship, was also a matter to which he paid particular atten- 
tion. The allusion to the *mone' or moon is somewhat 
obscure : it is very doubtful if sailors of the fourteenth 
century knew how to measure the distance between a fixed 
star and the moon, even by the cross-staff: perhaps this 
passage relates to the moon's influence on tides. 

^ Nicolas, vol. ii. p. 158. 

* See number of oars supplied to the barge * Paul ' in Appendix. 

3 Jal. vol. ii. p. 243. 

* See Appendix for outfit of a Barge. 

484 XV. Chaucer's shipman, 

" Lodemenage '' may "be read pilotage. This term has 

only recently become obsolete : in the reign of George I. 

an Act of Parliament was. passed,^ regulating the courts 

of lodemenage for the appointment of the Cinque Ports' 


" There was none such from HuUe to Cartage." 

He had been everywhere — ^in the northern seas. To 
Gothland and its capital Wisby, the Venice of the north, 
he would go with wool and coarse cloths^ and bring back 
corn, wood and tar.2 To Spain he would carry wool,^ ^nd 
return with wine, fine cloths, and merceries.* To Bordeaux 
he would take wool, and load with wine and leather.^ 

Of course one would like to know if there ever was a 
barge ycleped ye * Maudelayne,' and if so, who was her 
captain; so that we may, if possible, identify this 
portrait of a Devonshire sailor. Fortunately the returns 
of the various Custom-houses are all preserved, and con- 
sequently it was only necessary to go to that great 
treasure-house, the Record Office, and look through those 
of the port of Dartmouth.^ There we find that a vessel 
called the * Mau.delayne ' is entered three times, once in 
1379 and twice in 1386. On the first occasion the 

' 3 Geor. I. c. xiii. 

^ For northern trade see Pauli*s Pictures of Old Unglandy 184, 
186, 192, 442. 

^ See Libel of English Policy for English commerce generally ; 
Hackluyt, Voyages, vol. i. 

* Michel's Hist, de Commerce. 

* The Venetian and Genoese merchant came with his precious 
stock of eastern produce, his Italian silk and velvets, his store of 
delicate glass. The Flemish weaver was present with his linens of 
Liege and Ghent. The Spaniard came with his ^^lock of iron, 
the Norwegian with his tar and pitch. The Gascon vine-grower 
was ready to trade in the produce of his vineyard ; and, more 
rarely, the richer growths of Spain ; and, still more rarely, the 
vintages of Greece were also supplied. The Hanse towns sent 
furs and amher, and prohably were the channel b}'- which the 
precious stones of the East were supplied through the markets of 
Moscow and Novgorod. — Hist, of Agriculture and Prices, Kogers, 
vol. i. p. 142. 

^ I am indebted to Mr. Walford D. Selby for this discovery. 
See Appendix. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. 485 

name of the master was George Coventre, and on the 
second Peter Eisshenden. Either the ' Maudelayne ' had 
changed masters, or perhaps George Coventre had been 
sent home by water to the land of the ever-increasing 
majority. Chaucer went his pilgrimage to Canterbury in 
1388, so if the master of the * Maudelayne' really did go 
to the shrine of St. Thomas in that year, he is more likely 
to have been Peter Eisshenden than George Coventre. 
This, however, is a matter of but small moment, and 
one never likely to be solved. The unknown seaman is 
described as being as nearly perfect as a sailor of those 
times could be, with certain little failings just sufficient to 
link him with his contemporaries; and we must rest 
assured that Chaucer felt what he wrote in the line : 

*' And certainly he was a good felawe." 

CH. ESSAYS. .21 

486 XV. Chaucer's shipman. bargk-fittings in 1373. 


The following inventory of the fittings of a barge will be 
found interesting. It is taken from Riley's Memorials of 
.London, p. 368, and relates to a barge * The Paul of 
London/ provided ^by the city to serve under the King, 
Edward III. 1373. 

" This indenture, made on the 29th day of July, in the 
47th year, &c., witnesseth that lohn Piel, Mayor, the 
Aldermen, and the Commonalty, of the City of London, > 
have handed over and delivered, on the day of the making 
hereof, their barge, called 'The Paul of London,' fully 
rigged, together with the rigging and tackle thereof, unto 
William Martlesham, mariner, of the said city, and Master' 
of the said barge that is to say: — one mast with three 
top castelles. (Platforms round the mast, from which to 
throw darts or missiles at the enemy) ; 8 couples of 'n.Q^Y 
hedropes (Headropes, forestays, and backstays), 3 forstiez, 
and 2 couples of hackstiez, 2 girdinez (Qy. as to this term ; 
possibly it may mean the main gear or jear), 3 cranelynz 
(Crane-lines), 2 upties (Some kind of rope, probably), 2 
poUanges (Probably, pulleys or blocks), one seylyerde (Sail- 
yard), for the barge; one sail with 2 bonettes (a 'bonnet' 
is an additional slip laced to the foot of the sail), 2 shetes 
(Sheets, or sail-ropes), 2 thurghwals (Qy. as to thurgliwals 
and stechynges), 2 hoicelynes (Bowlines), 2 stechynges, 2 
trusses (Eopes for keeping the centre of a yard to the mast), 
2 yerde ropes (Yard ropes), one raMce (Eaek : various sorts 
are used on board ship), and the rigging pertaining to the 
mast ; 6 new cables, 5 anchors for the barge ; one wyndyng- 
rope (Winding-rope, halsors, buoy-ropes), 2 haucers for 
hoy-ropes, 2 touropes (Probably, *to-ropes,' used like 
* warp-ropes,' the next), 3 werp ropes, 2 ketels (Kettles), 
for the barge ; 60 teeldes (Qy. as to this and the two follow- 
ing terms: roostree may perhaps mean 'crosstree '), 16 
sJcaltrowes, 2 roostrees, one grapenel (Grapnel, chain), one 
clieyne of 16 fathom (fras), 2 waterfyles (Qy. as to this 
item), 80 ores (Oars), for the barge; 2 wyndyng bailies 
(Winding-bails ; perhaps some portions of the windlass), 
4 tables, with the trestles, 4 napes (Tablecloths), for 


the same ; 5 dozen aguh (Probably sail-needles), for tbe 
barge; 40 pounds of fllace (String or thread), 2 dozen 
shovels, one dozen skopes (Scoops), 2 great tankards (a large 
pail or tub for carrying water) bound with iron, six 
pottz tankards (Tankards for drinking from)., two boring- 
bits (bedetix), 4 sketfates (Yats for necessary purposes), 20 
poleynes (Pulleys, winding-pulleys), 2 wyndyng poleySy 2 
skeynes of poletwyne (Skeins of puU-twyne ; probably, thin 
string), 50 new j>a?e^^es (Pallets), stuffed; one pair of plates 
(Armour-plates), 50 cloves of taleghwode (Tall-wood ; long 
faggots) ; 20 chains of iron ; 60 bows, with a huche (Hutch, 
a box, or case), 500 cords for them ; 400 sheaves of arrows 
(or garbs; they were generally packed in casks, for con- 
veyance), with a tun ; one heyl (or bail, probably for 
bearing up the tilt over the boat); 2 huttes (Butts, iron 
supports for either side of a kettle on the hearth) of iron 
for one ketel ; one trevyt (Trivet), 2 hukettes (Buckets 
with bails or circular handles), with 2 heiles ; one str enter 
(Streamer, an ensign or pennon), 3 standards, 16 baners 
(Banners), 2 hoyes oicorhille (Buoys of cork), one coler for 
the steyes (Colour for the stays), 2 brass pots, 2 hatchets, 
2 hammers, one escJiele (Scaling-ladder), and 100 hords 
called waynskott (Boards called " wainscot," employed in " 
* boarding ' the enemy's ship), and 80 pavyz (or ^ pavises,' 
large shields) ; 30 yards of large hever (Long beaver ; perhaps 
used for stanching the blood from wounds) ; also, 200 
dartes; also, 30 launces ; also, 4000 guar els for arhlast 
(Square-headed arrows for cross-bows) ; also, one boat for 
the same barge, with one mast, 4 couples of hedrope (Head- 
rope, forestay, backstay), one foresteyey one couple of hack- 
steye, one uptye with (IJptie, haulyards, yardropes, sailyards) 
2 halters, 2 yerderopes, one zeylyerde, for the boat, one sail, 
2 shettes (Sheets ; thurgJtwalis, as stated before, cannot 
perhaps be identified), 2 ihurghwalis, one howelyne (Bow- 
line, anchor, oars, davit), one ankyr for the boat; one cable 
for the boat ; 30 ores, one davist, for the same boat : — the 
same to serve under our Lord the King in this present 
expedition upon the sea ; he safely to keep and conduct the 
same, and, after the said expedition, to bring back and 
redeliver such barge and boat, and all the things aforesaid, 
unto the Mayor and Commonalty of the said City, for the 
time being, by reasonable account made thereof ; and to 
answer and make satisfaction for all that has been lost there- 
from by his default, within 40 days next after such his 
return. The which thing well and loyally to do in form 
aforesaid, he, the same William Martlesham, Master of the 
said barge, binds himself, his heirs, and his executors, and 
all his goods, moveable and immoveable, wheresoever they 

2 I 2 

488 XV. Chaucer's shipman. the * maudelatne.' 

may be found, on this side of the sea or beyond, to the 
Mayor and Commonalty aforesaid, and to their successors, 
hereby. And for the greater certainty of so doing, Ibhn 
Maykyn, shipman, and Eobert Hulle, shipman, have become 
sureties for the said William, Master of the barge aforesaid ; 
and the said John Maykyn and Robert, the sureties afore- 
said, bind themselves, and each of them severally, and all 
their goods, moveable and immoveable, wheresoever they, 
may be found,, on this side of the sea or beyond, to the 
Mayor and Commonalty aforesaid, and to their successors, 
in the same manner as the said William, Master of the 
barge aforesaid, is bound. In witness whereof, to the one 
part of this indenture the Mayor and Commonalty aforesaid 
have set the Seal of the Mayoralty of the said city; and 
the aforesaid William, lohn Maykyn, and Robert, to the 
other part have set their seals. Given at London, the day 
and year before-mentioned." 


The discovery of the fact that there really had been a 
vessel called * Ye Maudelayne,' sailing from Dertemouthe, 
is due to Mr. Walford Selby, to whom I here beg' to 
express my obligation for many acts of kindness. 

Exchequer, Queen's Remembrancer, Customs, E'o. -W" 
Ann. 2-3 [Richard II.]. Account of the Kings Customs in 
Co. Devon, 26 Dec. to 13 June, 2 Rich. II.' 

The mention of the * Maudelayne ' is as follows : — 

1 3 June^ E"avis. " Maydeleine de Dertemuth. Geo. Cowntre." 

Pro 42 pannis. 

- ^ 

21 June „ „ „ —'■ 23 

— 12 

— 61 

— 4 

— 25 

— 29 

— 43 
27 June „ „ „ — 1 


XV. Chaucer's shipman. the ^ maudelayne.' 489 

Fannus = a piece of cloth ; so that on this voyage the 
'Maudelayne' was" freighted with 258^ pieces of cloth on 
which duty was paid to the King. There may have been 
other goods besides cloth in the cargo, but the Custom 
House returns would mention only such portion as were 
liable to pay duty. The King was entitled to a duty on 
wool, and his officers, claimed the same from cloth made in 
the kingdom and exported, as if it was wool in the raw 
state. This tax was eventually fixed by Parliament at 
sixpence per pound on the value of the wool exported 
(Stat. 2, 5, Eichard II. c. 3). 

In the same series of rolls, ISTo. -Va^, An. 15 Eichard II. 
there is another mention of the ' Maudelayne,' but this time 
with another Master : viz. Peter Eisshenden. 

l^avis. ' Magdaleyne.' Peter Eisshenden sailed 21 Sept. 

Pro fabis value 135. id. 
„ panno „ 20^. 
„ panno ,, 10s. 

On this occasion duty is paid on beans (faha) as well as 

a small quantity of cloth. 

There is one other mention of this vessel ; viz. in 'No. 

■V^ the same year, and this time the quantity of beans 

is given. 

Pro 1 dol' faV value 135. id. 

— panno „ 20s, 

— ,y „ 105. 

If we consider the value of 135. M, we must conclude that 
the quantity of beans may have been very inadequately 
expressed by doV == dolium, a tub or barrel, or else that 
broad beans must have been luxuries in those days. It is 
possible that these beans were packed in barrels, or dol' : 
and that would account for what seems at first sight a 
prohibitive duty. 




Varieties of Hoi'ses mentioned, p, 491. 
, Description of the Bextrier^ p. 493. 
„ tKe Courser, p, 494. 

„ the Rouncyy p. 494. 

„ the Sommier, p, 494. 

„ the Stot, p. 495. 

„ the Amtler and the mode of training, p, 496. 

„ the Courser of Naples, p. 497. 

„ the Bextrier of Lorrihardy, p, 498. 

Regulations for Haehney Men, p. 499. 

In the various tales and poems of Chaucer several 
varieties of horses are alluded to. Eor instance : 

The Palfrey of the Monk : 
*' His palfrey was as brown as is a berye.' ' — Prol. 207. 

The Eouncy of the Schipman : 
" He rood upon a rouncy, as he couthe." — ProL 390. 

The Ambler of the Wife of Bath : 
" Uppon an amblere esily sche sat." — Prol, 469. 

The Stot of the Eeeve : 
" This reeve sat upon a ful good stot." — Pro?.. 615. 

The. Courser of Theseus : 
** Tbis duk his courser with his spores smote."— Xm^rA^, 846. 

The Dextrier of Sir Thopas : 
^' And by him baiteth his dextrier." — Sir Thopas, 2102. 

The Sommier of Troilus : 

*' Came riding with his ten'the somme if ere." 

— Troilus and Cresseide, ii. 1249. 

The Eoreign Breeds mentioned by the Squire : 
*' Eight as it were a stede of Lumbardy." — Squire, 214. 
" As it a gentle Poileys courser were." — Squire, 21Q. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. — ch auger's horses. 491 

Besides these varieties other terms are used to describe 

horses, viz. : 

^* Had in his stable an hackenie." 

— Romaunt of the Bose, 1137.^ 
" And high on horse he sat." — Frol. 271. 
" And lene was his hors as is a rak." — Frol, 2B7. 
*' In a tabard he rood upon a mere." — Prol. 541. 
** Upon a steede bay, trapped in steel." — Knight^ 1299. 

Some of these terms are simply generic ; as in the 
following instances : 

In the description of the Monk, p7vL 203, is : 

" His hors in gret estate.*' 

And at 207 this animal is further specified as a palfrey. 
Again : 

" And on a courser for to schewe his face." — Knightj 1819. 
While at 1828 the term ' his hors ' is used. This also 
occurs in the Squire's Tale, for at 310, ^courser'; at 
312, *hors'; and at 81, 'stede', are used to describe the 
same animal. 

A very confusing example, however, will be found in 
Bir TJiqpas : 

" His good stede al he bistrood.'*— 2093. 
"And by him baiteth his dextrier."—- 2103 
"His steede was al dappel-gray, 
It goeth an ambel in the way." — 2074. 

ISTow steed and horse will apply equally well to 
Dextrier, Courser, and Palfrey ; but a dextrier was not a 
courser, and neither was a palfrey; and with all due 
jrespect to Chaucer, it may be doubted if ever a dextrier 
went at an amble : this is simply poetic license, or rather a 
joke. Sir Thopas is a burlesque on Chivalry, and hence 
the host interrupts with "l^o more of this, for goddes 

Taking these terms in their order of popular estima- 
tion, the first will be the Dextrier. This was the horse 
^ The Romaunt must be taken as spurious. — F. 

492 XV. chauoee's shipman. — chaucer's horses. 

par excellence. The dextrier, or war-horse, was of powerful 
build, and great strength : in fact the largest and strongest 
horse of the period ; and well he might be, for when fully 
equipped he was covered with iron, and carried a knight 
also covered with iron from head to foot. This burden he 
was only able to bear for a short time, if his services were 
to be utilized at the best. 

Some idea of what the horse had to carry may be 
gathered from the following extract from Sir W. Scott's 
Essay on Chivalry, p. 198. Ed. Warne. 

" The underdress of the knight was a close jacket of 
chamois leather, over which was put the mail shirt, com- 
posed of rings of steel artificially fitted into each other. 
A suit of plate armour was put on over the mail shirt, and 
the legs and arms were defended in the same manner. 
Eyen this accumulation of defensive armour was by some 
thouglit insufficient. An instance of this will be found in 
Southey's translation of The Gid, 

' Onward into Ferrand's breast, the lance's point is driven 
^ Full upon his breastplate, nothing would avail ; 

Two breastplates Ferrand wore, and a coat of mail, 
' The two are riven in sunder, the third stood him in stead. 
The mail sunk in his breast, the mail and the spear head ; 
The blood burst from his mouth, and all men thought him 

In the tournament the knights charged one another at 
the greatest possible speed ; so that it really was a question 
of weight plus velocity plus skill. The skill lay in directing 
this weight and velocity in such a manner as to upset the 
opponent : consequently it was done in short spurts. Now 
imagine a huge dray-horse in a gaUop, and one easily 
understands that it would not last long. In order to use 
him for these short, furious gallops, it was necessary to 
nurse his strength, and to this end it was not usual for the 
knight to mount until the instant of battle ; arid while on 
the march the knight rode a hackney or palfrey, and his 
dextrier was taken care of by a squire or groom, who led 
him by holding the bridle in the right hand ] hence the 
origin of the word, from dextre, the right, 

XV. Chaucer's shipman. — ch auger's horses. 493 
"djf deux Escuyers dont Vung menoit son destrier en destre,'^ 

quoted in Mirhoires sur VAncienne Ghevalerie^ par Sainte- 
Palaye, vol. i. p. 48. 

The knight was not supposed to be ready for the 
combat until he had his armour screwed on, and mounted 
on his charger ; and it was considered unknightly to attack 
an opponent until he was thus prepared. 

" Were he but horsed on steed like mine, 
To give him fair and knightly chance." 

Lord of the Isles, Canto vi. 14. 

What with buckling and screwing on of armour, 
and getting into the saddle, the proceeding was a great 
event ; and sometimes, if the. rider was heavy, the assist- 
ance of two or three squires was requisite ; hence one is 
not surprised to find that the formalities of the occasion 
gave rise to the saying, " Mounting the high horse." (See 
Sainte-Palaye, vol. i. p. 21.) 

The dextrier was quite unsuited for racing, and such 
like rapid movements, and it was this fact that Prince 
Edward utilized when he escaped from his guards after the 
battle of Lewes ; 

" The eldest son of the king went out in the fields 
about Hereford with his comrades and guards to take 
exercise, and thus when they had mounted their destrier 
horses, and fatigued them with galloping, he, after that, 
mounted a horse of his own which was not tired, and went 
with all speed to the lord Eoger de Mortimer." 

Matthew of Westminster, Bohn, vol. ii. p. 437. 

The Courser was a lighter and more agile animial than 
the dextrier, but was also used in tournament and battle ; 
and in hunting, if Chaucer may be taken as an authority. 
(See Knight, 846 and 1849.) Eustache Deschamps quoted 
by Sainte-Falaye, vol. i. p. 47, says ; 

''Destriers et grands chevaux etoient destines aiix 
joutes ; que les Coursiers ou mo yens sont ceux qui vont plus 
legerement en guerre^ Froissart often alludes to coursers 
in describing warlike encounters. 

494 ' XV. cha^uceb's shipman.— chauoer's horses. 

From tins it would appear tkat tlie dextrier held the 
place of the modern dragoon or heavy cavalry, and the 
courser that of the hussar and lancer, or light cavalry. 

The Palfrey was , the " Glieval de Parade'' (see 
Littre), and was especially affected by ladies. It was. a 
palfrey the knight rode, while his dextrier was led by an 
esquier. Palfreys were commonly used for journeys, and- 
also for hunting. 

The EouNCY was a load horse, but more particularly 
used for agricultural purposes : , , 

^^ Et les derniers appeUs roussins sont les chevaux com- 
muns servant aux villains pour leur labeur'' Quoted by 
Sainte-Palaye, vol. i. p. 47. Spelman, imder Runcinus, 
sajs : , ^' JEquus qperarius colonicus,'' and gives extracts 
c from Domesday. Du Cange gives : Eoundnus vel Runcinus : 
Equus minor y gregarius, (See the Schipman's Eiding, 
p. 457.) 

Yet runcini frequently occur in the lists of horses used 
in Ed. I.*s wars in France, and in other rolls ; and there is 
little doubt that they serve*d as mounts for grooms and other 
attendants of the knights ; or perhaps as baggage animals. 

The SoMMiER or Sumpter-horse was also a beast of 
burden, but a higher class than the rouncy. While the 
rouncy was used for carting, agricultural, and other rough 
work, the sumpter was employed to carry the baggage of 
travellers, and according to the rank and wealth of the 
t)wner would show signs of breeding, or otherwise. 
Spelman. has : Somariits : Eguus clitellarius^ vel qui 
farcinam veJiit, Blount gives : Summarius — sumpter 

Littr^ says : '^ On distinguait anciennementles chevaux 
en destriers, qui etaient les chevaux de bafaille; en 
jpalfroiSy qui etaient les chevaux de marche ordinaire 
pour les voyages ; et en roussins, qui etaient les chevaux de 
somme et de travail." And then gives an extract to show 
that the sommier and the roncin were certainly not 
the same. 

XV. Chaucer's shipman.— ohauoer's horses. 495 

" Vaumosnier, trois cJievauXy palefroi/y sommier, et 
roncin ; pour palefroy 24 livres, sommier 16* Uvres, et 
roncin 10 livres parisis,^^ 

And under Roussin is another extract to the same 
purport : ** II ri^en perdrat ne runein ne sommierr 

But althougli it may be supposed that these terms had 
their real value, there is no doubt that the poets sometimes 
mixed them up sadly. 

^^11 resuUera de tant d'autorites differenfes, que nos 
anciens Ecrivains ont souvent confondes tons ces mots, et 
qui la plupart du temps Us transportoient tantot Vaccep- 
tion du genre a Vespece, et tantot Vespece a Vdcception 
generiquer — Sainte Palaye, vol. i. p. 47. 

The Stot was what we should now call a cob — an 
undersized horse. Spelman has : Stot, equus admissarius. 
Ducange : the same. But Mr. Thorold Eogers, History of 
Agriculture and Prices, vol. i. p. 36, is of opinion that stots 
were low-bred undersized stallions. 

The term Ambler signifies that the animal had been 
trained to amble, an unnatural pace much affected in the 
middle ages ; but only horses suited for the road or park 
would be thus trained. 

**Like the trot, this pace is performed by two legs 
alternately moving in exact correspondence with each 
other. Instead of their being on opposite sides, they were 
on the same side; and one lateral half of the body is 
moved forward while the weight of the whole is supported 
on the other. The .pace is altogether unnatural to the 
wild horse, but in some domestic breeds it has become 
naturalized, and the foal will in them display the amble 
long before it is taught anything by the hand of man. 
In the cameleopard the amble is the only kind of pro- 
gression, whether the animal goes fast or slow. Formerly ^ 
an ambling palfrey was in great request for ladies* use 
but in the present day the pace is not regarded with 
favour." — The Horse in the Stable and the Field, J. H. 
Walsh, p. 134. 

The mode of training a horse to amble is given 
in G. Markham's Way to Wealth, p. 48. Strong pieces of 
girth web with proper straps and buckles are fastened, 


" One to liis neer fore-leg, and his neer hinder-leg, the 
other to his farre for-leg and his farre hinder-leg, which is 
call'd among h oarsmen trameling : with these you shall let 
him walk in some enclosed piece of ground, till he can so 
perfectly go in the same, that when at any time you offer 
to chace him, you may see him amble swiftly and truly; 
then you shall take him backe and ride him with the 
same trammels, at three or four times a day, till you 
find that he is so perfect, that no way can be so rough and 
uneven as to compel him to alter his stroke or to go 

This, he says, is the only certain and true way to make 
a horse amble, though many others are pretended. 

Chaucer mounts the ploughman on a mare ; as became 
his social position, l^o person pretending to belong to 
the ' quality ' would have mounted a mare, except under 
circumstances of the direst necessity. ** Gar les jumens 
etoient une monture d^rogeante, affedee aux Boturiers et 
aux Chevaliers degrades, et peutetre par un usage prudent, 
on les avoit reservies pour la culture des terres et pour 
multiplier les espbce" -Saint e Palaye, vol. i. p. 20 ; and a 
note at page 48 is an interesting extract to the same 

In a Latin poem on the Execution of Archbishop 
Scrope (1405), allusion is made to the additional indignity 
of being led to the scene of punishment riding on a mare : 

'* Jumento vehitur hinc ad supplicium." 

T. Wright. Political Poems^ vol. ii. 115. 
EoUs Series. 

In Urry's edition, in the Squire^ s Tale, 215, allusion 

is made to a Polish courser ; but this should read Poileys, 

which is old French and Middle English for Apulia. The 

horses bred in the south of Italy were long ' celebrated, 

even as late as the seventeenth century, when they were 

called JSTaples coursers. Tyrwhitt quotes the following 

extract from a fourteenth century MS. in the Eodleian. 

James vi. 142: ^^ nee mulus Hispanice, nee dextrarlus 

Ajjulice, nee rejpedo uiEthiopice, nee elephantus Asice, nee 

canielus Syrice,^^ 


T. Blundeville, writing in 1609, gives tlie following 
description of tlie courser of !N"aples. [The four chief est 
offices belonging to Horsemanship, leaf 4, back.] 


The Napolitan, which we commonly cal a courser of 
JSTaples, is a trim horse, being comely and strongly made, 
and of so much goodnesse, of as gentle a nature, and of so 
high a courage as any Horse is, of what countrie so ever 
he be. He is easily knowne from all other Horses, by his 
no lesse cleane, than strong making, his limmes are so 
well proportioned in everie point: and partly by his 
portliness in his gate, but chiefly by his long slender head, 
the nether part whereof, that is to say, from ye eyes 
downeward, for the most part is also somewhat bending 
like a Hawkes beake, which maketh him to reine with the 
better grace. And yet the Italians doe both write and say 
that these coursers be nothing so strong now, as they have 
beene in times past : partly perhaps for that like Industrie 
of late dales hath not been used in breeding them, as in 
times past, and partly for that nature doth decaie everie 
day more and more, as wel in man as in beast. But 
howsoever they be, in mine opinion, their gentle nature 
and docilitie, their comely shape, their strength, their 
courage, their sure footmanship, their well reining, their 
lofty pase, their cleane trotting, their strong gallopping, 
and their swift running well considered (all which things 
they have in manner by nature) the excell numbers of 
other races, even 50 farre as the faire greihoundes the 
fowle Mastiffecurres." 

Lombardy horses were also great favourites in England, 
and some of our kings spent large sums in their purchase. 
In the Issue Eoll of Thomas de Brantingham, Edward III., 
p. 463, is an entry of the payments to be made " for the 
receipt of the charges and expenses incurred by him in going 
a voyage, by precept of the king, on a message of the said 
king to Lumbardy to bring the gallies of the Lord de 
Melun with him to the port of Calais, 13 palfreys, 1 
sumpter horse, and 7 greyhounds." There is a curious 
mention of Lombardy horses in Monstrelet, vol. i. p. 168 
(Johnes) : " a number of Lombards and Gascons had 
formed part of the army of the Duke of Orleans, who 

493 XV. Chaucer's shipman. — chauoer's horses.- 

were mounted on terrible horses, that were taught to 
wheel round when on full gallop, which seemed very 
astonishing to the French, Flemmings, etc., who had not 
been accustomed to such movements." 

The Hackney then as now was a roadster. It might 
have been a well-bred animal, or otherwise. In London 
it was the custom to leir out hackneys for hire, and special 
regulations were in vogue to protect this industry. See 

There were other varieties of horses common in 
England, but not alluded to by Chaucer. 

'* Affri " were coarse, ill-shaped animals used in agri- 
culture. — Rogers^ vol. i. p. 35. 

The '* Spanish Jennet '' was a special kind of palfrey. 

The ^^Hobelar" or "Hobbie" was a small but con- 
venient-sized horse, used for light cavalry work, and 
hawking. — Flemming, Horseshoes^ p. 400. The Hobbie 
was supposed to be of Irish origin. 



Patent JRoll. 19 RicJiard II. jpart 2. membr, 8. 


[Translation,] — The King to all and singular Sheriffs 
Mayors Bailiffs Constables Eeeves Provosts and. other his 
faithful people to whom etc. Greeting. Eeginald Shrowes- 
bury and Thomas Athekot have entreated^us that — whereas 
they and all others called Hakeneymen of Suthwerk 
Derteford Eoucestre and other towns between London 
and Dovorre in the times of our progenitors had for 
the hire of one Hakenei between Suthwerk and Eoucestre 
sixteen pence and from Eoucestre as far as Canterbury 
sixteen pence and now some men passing hence from 
day to day through the said places take the horses of 
the said Eeginald and Thomas and other their fellows 
aforesaid against their will and pleasure and ride upon- the 
horses aforesaid whither they will paying little or nothing 
for labour and hire of the same so that very often the 
horses aforesaid are by the hirers of the same lost and 
destroyed and sometimes sold and wholly eloigned to the 
no mean damage of those our lieges and manifest depression 
of their estate and the probable scarcity of the said horses 
at the places aforesaid within a short time unless they are 
quickly succoured by us — we will apply a fit remedy for 
reformation of the premises. We wishing, as is meet, to 
provide as well for avoiding henceforward damages and 
losses of those our lieges as for the advantage and quiet of 
others denizens as well as strangers passing" hence thither- 
wards Will and ordain that for the hire of one Hakenei 
from Southwerk to Eoucestre twelve pence only be taken, 
and from Eoucestre to Canterbury twelve pence, and from 
Canterbury to Dovorre sixpence;- and so from town to 
town within the places aforesaid more or less according to 
the rate of the said twelve pence and the number of miles 
And that the aforesaid Eeginald and Thomas or other their 
fellows aforesaid shall be in no wise compelled to let out 

1 After getting this copied and englisht, I found it on p. B34 
of vol. 1. of Longman's Lectures on the History of England ; but 
as it is part of the Chaucer Society's material, and ought to be in 
its books, I do not cancel the document. 


tlieir horses aforesaid to any persons unless tlie sum in form 
aforesaid be promptly paid to them for the same And more- 
oyer for making the safety of the horses aforesaid of onr 
lieges greater and more than ordinary we will and ordain . 
that a certain cautery or instrument of iron be ordered in 
every of the aforesaid towns which we will to be kept by 
some honest man of every of the said towns for marking 
such horses as are for hire without taking anything for such 
marking And that no one of what state or condition soever 
he be shall buy or sell horses marked with a cautery or 
such-like instrument of iron or otherwise unduly eloign 
them or also cut the ears or tails of the horses aforesaid or 
also kill those horses under grave forfeiture to us and 
incurring of peril and also that it shall be truly lawful for 
the said Eeginald and Thomas and other their fellows 
aforesaid to take their horses so hired and marked with 
such mark and by the hirers thereof sold or eloigned where- 
sover they shall happen to be found by the survey of the 
bailiffs or constables of the place, and thence to take them 
with themselves as is just So always that if the horses so 
to be hired by reason of insufficiency and too great weak- 
ness of the same and not by default of the horses fail on 
the way so that they cannot perform their journey then 
from the sum given for the hiring of the horses so failing 
by the hirers of the same so much shall be returned as 
those hirers for the hire of other horses to perform their 
journey shall be able to show that they have reasonably 
paid And therefore we command and firmly enjoin you 
the aforesaid sheriffs mayors and bailiffs and every one of 
you that you cause all and singular the premises in your 
bailiwicks where it shall seem to you the more expedient 
to be publicly proclaimed and as much as appertains to you 
to be firmly observed and held not molesting or in any 
wise aggrieving the said Eeginald and Thomas or other 
their fellows aforesaid contrary to this our grant and 
ordinance. In witness whereof etc. Witness the King at 
the Kings manor of Chilternelangele the fifth day of 

By writ of Privy Seal and 
by the Council. 










BNGLISHT, 1884. 



In the "Introductory Disconrse" to his edition of 
Cliaucer (London, 1864, p. 69, et seq.), Tyrwhitt remarks 
as follows upon the Parson^ s Tale : "It is entitled in some 
MSS. ^Tractatus de Poenitentia pro fabula, ut dicitur, 
Rectoris,* and I much suspect that it is a translation of some 
such treatise." Sandras {Etude sm^ Chaucer, p. 251) agrees 
with him: "Le sermon du cure de campagne ... est une 
version de quelque doctrinal de conscience." — Hertzberg 
{Canterhury Tales, p. 670) goes so far as to say: "we 
must of course assume a Latin original." 

Morris, in the course of his work upon Dan Michel's 
Ayenbite of Inwyt^ for the published edition of 1866, 
became acquainted with the French prose work of Fr^re 
Lorens, La Somme des Vices et des Vertus, of which 
Ayeiibite is known to be a literal translation, and it could 
not fail to strike him, being at the same time engaged upon 
a new edition of Chaucer, that a family likeness existed 
between the Parson\s Tale and that French work. In the 
new edition of Tyrwhitt's Introductory Discourse, with 
which Morris prefaced his own edition, he replaced the 
second half of the above-quoted passage of Tyrwhitt, " and 
I much suspect that it is a translation of some such 
treatise," by the following words, I. 251, "and is a 
translation or rather adaptation of some chapters of a work, 
entitled Li Hires roiaux de vices et de vertus, by Frere 

2 K 2 


In his preface to the edition oi Ayenhite he makes the 
following observation : ** It was probably suggested by- 
Chaucer's Person es Tale, which is an adaptation of some 
chapters of the French treatise, to which it is of course 
much superior. The poet has introduced much original 
~ matter, as in the chapter on Pride, where he speaks of 
inordinate scantiness and superfluity of clothing, and his 
treatment of the subject dijffers considerably from his 
author : thus Chaucer makes the remedium in each case 
follow the description of any particular sin. Pr^re Lorens 
treats the remedia separately, as so many gifts of the Holy 

One of the additions in Hazlitt's edition of Warton's 
History of English Poetry (II. 373) makes reference to this. 
"The Persones Tale, as Dr. Morris has pointed out, was 
partly borrowed by Chaucer, with large variations, from 
the Prench treatise. La Somme de Vices et de Vertus, by 
Prere Lorens." Maetzner, too, points here and there in his 
. commentary on the extracts from Ayenhite, printed by him 
in Spracliprohen, II. 56, e^ seq., to correspondences with 
the Parson^ s Tale. 

A closer examination of the relation of the ParsorHs 
Tale to the Prench work has not hitherto been attempted, 
partly, no doubt, because the latter is difficult of access. 
And yet such an examination must have an important 
bearing on the question, first raised by H. Simon in his 
essay, Chaucer ein Wicliffit,'^ and then ventilated by 
others,^ as to the genuineness of certain passages in the 
Parson^ s Tale. 

A treatise of Simon's, announced several years ago by 
the Chaucer Society, has not yet appeared. 

The Prench work is still unpublished. It is preserved 

1 Schmalkald, 1876 : programme of the upper Biirgerschule. 
English translation in the publications of the Chaucer Society, 

2 See Koch, Anglia, II. 542, et seq., and A. W. Ward, Chancer ^ 
p. 134, et seq. 

xvL 'parson's tale, contents of f1 lorens's book. 505 

in several MSS. ; see on this subject " Histoire Utteraire 
de la France" tome XIX. 400. — Paulin Paris, les manu- 
scrits fran<^ais. — Yarnhagen, Engl, Studien, I. 380, Anm., 
382, 422. There are other MSS. at Cheltenham, Cam- 
bridge, and doubtless other places. An impression by 
Yerard is also in existence. 

Whilst pursuing the following investigation, I have had 
before me a copy of the three first sections of the French 
work made by Prof. Yarnhagen from the Cotton MS. 
[Cleop. A. Y.] (on the Ten Commandments, the Creed, 
the Seven Deadly Sins, Ayeribite, p. 5 — 70). A copy of the 
remaining sections required by me for my work, I owe to 
the kindness of Miss Toulmin Smith. 

As a reference to the page of the MS. will hardly be of 
use, unless to the scholar in London, I have preferred 
always .to give references according to Morris's edition of 
Ayenhite of Inwyt. 

I quote the text of the Parson's Tale from E. Morris's 
edition of Chaucer, London 1875, IIL 263, et seq, I have 
besides this made use of the Six-Text-Print, and also of 
Skeat's edition. I mark the text of the Parson^s Tale 
in the form in which it has come down to us, with E : 
the French text, according to the above-mentioned MS. 
with F. 

I will begin with a concise review of the contents of F 

and E : 


I. Li X commandemenz. (5 — 11). 

II. Les articles de la foi. (11 — 14). 

III. Li YII chevetain pecchie. (14 — 70). 

Introduction : Classified under the 7 heads of the Beast in the 

1. orguel. (16—26). 

2. envie. ^ (26—29). 

3. ire. (29—31). 

4. accide (peresce). (31 — 34). 

5. avarice. - (34 — 46). 

6. luxure. ^ (46 — 50). 

1 Hence the title of the whole section, Des revelacions saint 


7. pecchie de la bouche. (50 — 70). 

a. glotonie. (50_57). 

b. pecchi^ de la male langue. (67—70). 
lY. Lamort. (70—76). 

Y. Li bien que li hons a de Dieu. (76 — 98). 

1. Les biens de fortune, (76 — 78). 

2. Les biens de nature. (78 — 79). 

3. Les biens de grace. 

C'est la vertue generalment. (79 — 94). 

4. La vertu especiaument ou les 

vertues (94—98). 

YL La pater-nostre. (98—118). 

YIL Les YII dons de saint-esperit. 

estrepent les racines des YII pecchiez du.cuer e i 
plantent e norissent YII vertus contraires. 
First are treated : 

YII autres vertus. (123—127). 

1. Ill divines vertus. (123). 

a. foi. 

b. cbarit§. 

c. esperance. 

2. les lY vertus cardinales. (124—127). 

d. prudence. 

e. atemprance. 

f. force. 

g. justice. 

Les YII dons de saint-esperit (127 — 262). In 7 
Sections, each of which after an introduction 
treats of vii degres and then of vii branches de 
la vertu. 

1 . Li dons de paour — c/a — la vertue d'umilit6. (127 — 

orguel 144). 

2. Li dons de pit§ — c/a — la vertu d'amour (mansue- 

envie tude). (144—150). 

3. Li dons de science — c/a — la vertu de justice. (150 — • 

ire 161). 

4. Li dons de force — c/a — la vertu de proesce. (161 — 

accide 183). 

In the 1 branche, to " le 1 combat que le chrestien 
a encontre le pecchie mortel," is added a dis- 
sertation on penitence : *' a ceo k'il soit bien 
armez, il covient, k^il eit III choses qui sont en 
vraie penitence : 

a. repentance de cuer. ., ..(171). 

b. confession de bouche, with an 

Appendix : (172—180). 

queles choses especiaument empeeschent vraie 
confession (= E Y). 

c. satisfaction par oevre. (180). 

5. Li dons de conseil — c/a — la vertu de misericorde (183 

avarice — 199). 

with a section : ausmosnes. (191 — 199). 

6. Li dons d'entendement — c/a — la vertu de chastete (199 — 

luxure 245). 

asYIIdegr6: oreisons (207—219). 


7. LI dons de sapience — c/a — la vertu ,de sobrete (atemp- 
pecchi6 de la bouche ranee) 

met partout mesure es biens 

espirituex comme en (245 — 262). 
a. jeunes J 

^- ™H®^,. C only enumerated r250). 

c. disciplines i 

d. autres oevres de vertu ) 

E. (Morris III, 263—368). 
[Prima pars (263—285).] 

A. Int7'oduGtion : with sketch of the arrangement of the theme 

Penitence. (263—264). 

B. Treatise : 

I. what is penitence, and whens it is cleped 

penitence i) (264—265). 

II. And in what maner, and in how many maneres been the 
acciones of penaunce. 

III. And how many spieces ben of penitences. (266). 

IV. And whiche thinges apperteynen and 

byhoven to penitence. (266 — 366).^ 

1. contricioun of herte. (266 — 285). 

[Secunda pars (286—362).] 

2. confessioun of mouth. (286—362). 

a) what is confessioun. . 
(New subject). In addition to this a Treatise on the sin. 

V whens that synnes springe. (286 — 289). 

2' and how thay encresen. (289 — 290). 

B' and whiche thay ben. 
a' venial synnes (290 — 293). 

b' dedly (chiveteynes of) synnes. (293 — 354). 

a. De Superbia — Remedium c/a Superbiam — humilite. 

/3. De Invidia — „ „ Invidiam — love. 

y. De Ira — „ ,, Irani -^ deboneirte (man- 

suetudo) and pacience. (308—323). 
^. De Accidia — Remedium c/a Accidiam — strengthe. 

€. De Avaritia — „ ,, Avaritiam — misericorde 

Also largesse, (330—338). 
I. De Gula — , c/a Grulam — abstinence. 

77. De Luxuria — „ „ Luxuriam — chastite. 


b. whethir it oughte needes be doon or noon. 2) 

c. whiche thinges ben convenable to verray 

confessioun. (357 — 362). 

[Tertia pars (362—368).] 

1 The exposition of " whens it is cleped penitence " is wanting. 

2 The exposition is wanting: instead of this is a guide to 

508 XVI. THE parson's tale and its original. 

3. satisfaccioun. 

a. almesdede. 

b. bodily peyne. 


a. orisouns. 

(3. wakyng (only mentioned), 
y. fastynge. 

S, discipline or teching. 
v. whiche thinges destourben penaunce. 
\ Conclusion : the fruyt of penaunce. 




Prom this review of the contents of both texts it will 
appear that in their main features the two great sections, 
viz. that on the 7 deadly sins, and that on the 7 contrary 
virtues (7 gifts of the Holy Ghost), are the same in both, 
but with the difference that in E the two sections are 
separated, and stand in no near relation to one another 
(F iii. and the principal part of F vii.), whilst in E a 
single section corresponds to these, viz. 3' b', a — -rj in the 
treatise on the sin, where to each one of the 7 deadly 
sins is appended as Eemedium one of the 7 contrary 
virtues (7 gifts of the Holy Ghost). The section on 
penitence, which in F is inserted after vii. 4, and continues 
throughout vii. 5, 6, 7, has nothing corresponding to it in 
the treatise on the sin in E, but elsewhere in E iv. 1 — 3 
and V. 

The section on the 7 other virtues, which in F vii. 
precedes the 7 gifts of the Holy Ghost, has nothing at all 
corresponding to it in E. 

The examination and closer comparison of sections 
F iii. and F vii. (with the exception of the part just 
mentioned) on the one hand, and sections E 3' b', a — ?/ in 
the treatise on the sin, and E iv. 1 — 3, v., on the other 
hand, will be the object of our present investigation. 

I propose in the following investigation to hold to the 
arrangement of F, not of E, that is, to treat first of the 7 
deadly sins, and then in a separate part of the 7 remedies, 
viz., the 7 virtues called forth by the gifts of the Holy 



In E and F this section begins iwith. a short introduc- 
tion.^ In F the 7 deadly sins are identified with the 
7 heads of the Beast in the Apocalypse, which is not the 
case in E. In F this is followed by * Li premiers chies de 
la beste est orguex ; li secons, envie ; li tiers, ire ; li quars, 
peresce, que Ton apele en clergie accide ; li quins, avarice ; 
li sisimes, glotonie; li setiemes, luxure. De ces YII 
chies descendent toutes manieres de pecchies, e por ce 
sont il apele chevetain vice. Car il sont chief de tons 
vices et de touz pecchiez, soient mortex soient venians. 
(Ay. 16), and then it proceeds to the first deadly sin, 
orgueil, with the words Et premierement dirons du pecchie 
d'orgueil, car ce fu li premiers pecchiez e li conimencemens 
de tons maus.' In E the preface to the 7 deadly sins runs 
as follows : 

'ITow it is bihovely thing to telle whiche ben dedly 
synnes, that is to sayn, chiveteyns of synnes ; for as moche 
as alle thay renne in oon loos, but in divers maners. 
!N"ow ben thay cleped chiveteyns, for als moche as thay 
ben chief and springers of alle othere synnes. The roote of 
these seven synnes thanne is pride^ the general synne and 
roote of alle harmes. For of this roote springen general 
braunchesj as ire, envye, accidie or sleuthe, avarice or 
coveitise (to commune understondynge), glotonye, and 
leccherie : and everich of these synnes hath his braunches 
and his twigges, as schal be declarid in here chapitres 
folwinge.' (M. 293—294). 

It will be seen that E and F are throughout in 
substantial agreement'. * Por ce sont il apele chevetain vice. 
Car il sont chief de tons vices et de touz pecchiez,' coincides 

■^ Three MSS. of the S. T. Pr. have this introduction under 
the heading Be Sn^erhia, exactly as in F. 


almost verbally witli '^Now ben thay cleped cliiveteyns,^ 
forals moclie as thay ben chief and springers of alle othere 
synnes.' In E the designation of " ire, envye, accidie, 
avarice, glotonye, leccherie " as " braunches of pride " is 
incorrect: for in the sequel they, as well as pride, are 
given a separate treatment. In F all is in order. 



In the following comparison of the chapters on the 
7 deadly sins, I have generally observed this order. I 
give a survey of the contents of both texts in the form of 
a tolerably complete outline. ' Within this framework 
I insert all the matter that coincides in both texts. 
Everything not corresponding I omit, except where it 
is necessary to the outline : but I notify the omission by 

strokes ( ), whilst the numbers of the lines, enclosed 

in brackets, show the space that it occupies. At the same 
time, by altering the arrangement in F, I have as far 
as possible placed the corresponding parts of the outline or 
of the matter, opposite to each other. I then draw special 
attention to these correspondences, touch shortly upon the 
relation of the two sections to one another, and lastly state 
the result of the comparison. 

De Superbia. Le premier chief de la beste. 

E (294—302). F (16—26). 

And thougH so be, that no Cist pecchiez se devise et 

man can telle utterly the nombre s'espant en tant de parties, qu'a 

of the twigges, and of the harm paines le porroit on nombrer. 

that Cometh of pride, yet wol I Mais YII principaus parties 

schewe a party of hem, as ye i a, qui sont ausi comme VII 

sohul understonde. — Enumera- branches qui issent et naissent 

tion of 16 twigges. Short ex- d'une mauvaise racine. 
planation of them, in which the 
11th twig is wanting, and instead 
of it "j angeling " is brought in 

at the end after " vaynglorie." Branches : (fully treated). 

1 Three MSS. of the S. T. Pr. read " caytifnesse," doubtless a 
later emendation. The true reading "cheveteyns" (chief taynes) 
is confirmed by F. 


I. Inobedience. 
II. Avauntyng. 

III. Ypocrisye. 

IV. Despit. 

V. Arragaunce. 
VI. Impudence. 
YII. Swellyng of herfc. 
VIII. Insolence. 
IX. Elacioun. 
X. Inpacience. 
XI. (Strif) Contumacie. 
XII. Pr,esumpcioun (Surquid- 

XIII. Irreverence. 

XIV. Pertinacie. 
XV. Veinglorie. 

XVI. Jangelyng. 

Here is added : A prive spice of 
pride, that wayteth first to 
be saluet er he saliewe, al 
be he lasse worth than that 
other is, paradventure ; and 
eek wayteth or desireth to 
sitte above him, or to go 
above him in the way, or 
kisse the pax, or ben en- 
censed, or gon, to the oif- 
ringe biforn his neighebore, 
and suche semblable thinges, 

Now ben ther tuo maners of 
pride ; 
I. Heighnes withinne the 
hert of a man (i. e. all the 
twigs named in the fore- 
going section, inobedience 
II. Heighnes withoute the hert 
of a man. 

1. In speche and contien- 

(only mentioned, with- 
out explanation.) 

2. In outrageous array of 

_ (10). 

a) superfluite of cloth- 
ing (22). 

b) disordinat scantnes 
ofclothmg— (33). 

I. Desloiautes. 

1. Vilenie (Ingratitude). 

2. Forsenerie. 

3. Eenoierie. 
II. Despis. 

1. On ne prise pas autrui a 

2. On ne porte pas honour 
e reverence la ou Ten 

3. On n'obeist pas a droit a 
ceus a cui Ten obeir 

III. Arrogance (Sorquidance, 

1. Singularite. 

2. Prodigalite. 

3. Fans Contenz. 

4. Vantance. 

5. Derision. 

6. Eebellions.i 

IV. Ambicion. 

A. 1. Losengerie. 

2. Simulacions. 

3. Folement doner. 

4. Folement despendre. 

B. 1. Mesdire. 

2. Pesirrer la raort de celui 
qui tient ce a quoi il 

3. Traisons. 

4. Mauvais consaus. 

5. Conspiracions. 

6. Contenz e mout d'autres 

1 Cotton MS. rebellisons, but 2 of the other British Museum 
MSS. have the above form. 


3. In thinges that aper- 
teynen to lydyng, as 
curious harnoys (18). 

4. In holdyng of gret 
meyne (24). 

5. In table (14). 

The espices that sourdren of 

pride, sothely whan thay sour- 
dren of malice ymagined and 
avised, aforn cast, or elles of 
usage, ben dedly synnes, it is no 
doute. And whan thay sourden 
by frelt^ unavysed sodeinly, — 
— — I gesse thay ben not 

Whereof pride sourdeth and 
springeth. (p. 300). 

I. Of the goodes of nature. 

1. goodes of body. 

a. Hele. 

b. Strengthe. 

c. Delivernesse. 

d. Beauty. 

e. Gentrie. 

f. Frauuchise. 
These are here only men- 
tioned : in the explanation there 
are a few words upon the follow- 
ing : 

a. Hele (6). 

b. Strengthe — '■ (5). 

c. Gentrie (25). 

2. goodes of soule. 

a. Goode wit. 

b. Scharp understond- 

^''c. Subtil engyn. 

d. Yertu nature!. 

e. Good memorie. 
These are only mentioned. 

II. Of the goodes of fortune. 

a. Eichesses. 

b. Highe degrees of 

c. Preisyng of the 

These are only mentioned. 

V. Vaine gloire 
is divided into rainciaus accord- 
ing to the 3 kinds of divine 

gifts : 

1. Li bien de nature 
a. devers le cors. 
a. Saintet^. 
/?. Biaut^. 
y. Force. 
d. Proesce. 
£, Noblesce. 
^. Bone langue. 
rj. Bone voiz. 


b. devers Tame, 
a. Cler sens. 
(3. Soutil engin. 

y. Bone memoire. 

d. Les verfcuz natureles. 

Li bien de fortune 


/5. Honors. 

y. Eichesces. 

d. Delices. 

a. Prosperitez. 
These produce XII manieres 
de temptacions. In one's heart 
to think of : 


a. dignite. 
j8. prosperite. 
y. richesces. 
.d, delices. 
f. grant compaignie. 
'C bele maisnie. 
rj. biaus manoirs. 
^. beles chevauchures. 
t. plente des beles robes. 
K. I'appareil de son ostel 

et autre maniere de 

X. granz presenz e granz 

H. bone renomee e loen- 

III. Of the goodes of grace. 8. Li bien de grace. 

a. Science. a. Yertuz. 

b. Power to suffre /3. Bones oevres. 
spirituel travaile. 

c. Benignite. 

d. Vertuous contem- 

6. Withstondyng of 
temptacioun, and 
semblable thinges. 
These are only mentioned. 
: ^15). Yi, Ypocrisie. 

1. ypocrisie orde. 

2. „ sote. 

3. „ soutive. 

VII. Fole paour e fole vergoigne. 

From the above it will appear tiiat a well-ordered 
scheme underlies the section in F : orguel is divided into 
7 branches, and each of these again into a number of 
reinselez (branchettes). Let ns examine E more closely. 
After first pointing out (substantially in agreement with F) 
the impossibility* of naming all the parts (twigges = 
reinselez) into which pride may be divided, 16 twigges 
are enumerated, but without that logical coherence apparent 
in F. Next follow short definitions of the twigs, in which, 
however, as akeady remarked in the outline, the 1 1 tli twig 
is omitted from the list, and instead is added at the end, 
under jangelyng, which had never been mentioned before. 
These 16 twigges correspond partly to the branches, partly 
to the reinselez of F, whilst some of them are not found 
in F at all, or at least not under the same heading. 


The definitions onlj correspond in their general sense 
with F. For instance : 

Inobedient is he that dis- 
obeieth for despyt to the co- 
maundemerrtz of God, and to 
his sovereigns, and to his gostly 
fader. (M. 294). 

Avauntour is he that bosteth 
of the harm or of the bounte 
that he hath don. 

- Ypocrisy is he that hydeth to 
schewe him such as he is, and 
scheweth him such as he is not. 

Despitous is he that hath des- 
dayn of his neighebour, that is 
to say, of his evencristen, or 
hath despit to doon that him 
Gughte to doon. 

Irreverence is whan men doon 
not honour ther as hem oughte 
to doon, — — (M. 295). 

Pertinacie is whan man de- 
fendith his folye, and trusteth 
to moche to his owne witte. 

por ce que on n'obeist pas a 
droit a ceus a cui Fen obeir 
devroit. (Ay. 20). 

Cist pechiez (vantances) est 
]ies en celui qui par sa propre 
bouche se vante, ou de son sens, 
ou de son parage, ou de ses 
oevres, ou de ses proesces. 

■ (Ay. 22). 

C'est uns pechiez qui fait 
monstrer le bien par defors qui 
n'est mie par dedens. Dont cil , 
sont j^pocrite qui se font le pro- 
dome et ne I'sont pas. (Ay. 25). 

por ce que on ne prise pas autrui 
a droit en son cuer, sicom Pen 
devroit. (Ay. 20). 

por ce que on ne porte pas 
honour et reverence la ou Ten 
doit. (Ay. 20). 

li orgueillous sorquidiers, se on 

le reprent, il se defent ; se 

on le conseille, il ne croit nuli 
fors soil sens. (Ay. 22). 

Three other definitions correspond substantially and in 
part verbally with passages in F : 

Swellyng of hert is whan a quant il voit ou oit 

man rejoysith him of harm that autrui mal s'esjpist il en son 
he hath don. cuer. (Ay. 27). 

Impacient is he that 

by stryf werreth trouthe wityngly guerroier verite a son escient. 
and defendeth his folic. (Ay. 29). 

Jangelyng is whan a man — vaines paroles, qui sont 

clappith as a mille, — (M. 295). come li batels du moulin. 

(Ay. 58). 

The expression "jangler" too occurs in F in this chapter. 

Throughout this part there is in E much confusion in 
particulars. The definition of "swellyng of herte" is 
incorrect : it cannot mean " whan a man rejoyseth him of 
harm that he hath don." ^* Arragaunce" and ^^presump- 


cioun," which in F are identical (" la tierce branche d'orguel 
est arrogance que Ten apele sorquidance ou presiimpcion "), 
appear in E as distinct conceptions. On the other hand, 
the definitions of some of the words resemble each other 
closely. Compare, for example, the definitions of " despi- 
tons" and "insolent,"' '4nobedient" and "contimax." 
Lastly, ^ the mistake- must be mentioned of " ypocrisie " 
(instead of " ypocrite " i) " is he that hydith," &c. 

The next section on "priv6 spice of pride'' has nothing 
corresponding to it in F. Upon this follows an exposition 
of a general nature, viz. of the two principal kinds of pride, 
of which the one comprehends the 16 twigges, already 
treated : this whole exposition is therefore out of place 
here. The points treated under the second kind of pride are 
also found in F : 1. *^Highnes of herte in speche and con- 
tienaunce " are frequently brought forward in F. 2. " out- 
rageous array of clothing " corresponds to " plente des beles 
robes " in F. Y, temptacion t. 3. " Thinges that apertey- 
nen to rydyng " to " beles chevauchures," ibid. B, 4. *' gret 
meyne " to " bele maisnie," ibid. ^. 5. *'apparaile of the 
table " to " appareil de son ostel," ibid, k, " harnoys " in 
3 == "hernois," ibid. k. But in F all these points are 
enumerated together with others, whilst in E they are, 
with the exception of the first, '^ speche and contienaunce," 
independently and very fully treated. 

The following passage "the spices that sourdren," &c., 
which may be considered to conclude this section, has 
nothing corresponding to it in tbis chapter, but the same 
idea is often to be found in other parts of F. 

In the section " whereof pride sourdeth and springeth,'' 
E is in tolerably exact accordance with F, as the outline 

F vi, " ypocrisie " is in E treated at the beginnings 
whilst the very short F vii is quite wanting in E. 

1 2 MSS., including Ellesmere ; the most perfect of the 6 MSS. 
of the S. T. Pr. have this correct reading. 


The correspondence in this first Deadly Sin is- 
confined to isolated expressions, points of an arrangement 
common to both, to which I vdll once more refer : Of the 
16twiggesEi; ii; iii; iv ; v; xii; xiii; xy; correspond 
to F ii. 3 ; iii. 4 ; vi ; ii ; iii ; iii ; ii. 2 ; v. Of the 
remaining points in the outline, ^^ outrageous array of 
clothing = plente des beles robes; thinges that apper- 
teynen to, rydyng = beles chevauchures ; harnoys = her- 
nois; gret meyne = bele maisnie ; apparaile = appareil. 
Most striking is the correspondence of the whole list of 
causes '^ whereof pride sourdeth and springeth," with those 
of F V, which in the outline are placed parallel with them, 
and which I for this reason will not again enumerate 
separately. In conclusion, I would draw attention to the 
many cases in which the definitions of the several twigs- 
correspond in substance, as well as to correspondences, 
both in substance and form, with other passages in F. 



De Invidia. Le second chief de la beste. 

(E 303—306). F (27—29). 

A. Introduction : A. Introduction : 

After pride now wol I speke Li secons chief de la beste 

of the foule synne of envye, d'infer est envie,'c' est 11 serpens 

"which that is, as by the word of qui tout envenime, 
the philosophre, sorwe of other 
mennes prosperite ; and after the 
word of seint Austyn, is it sorwe 
of other mennes wele, and joye 
of other mennes harm. 

This foule synne is platly ^Cist pecchiez est si perillous 
agayns the Holy Gost. Al be it qu'a paines puet on venir a droits 
so, that every synne is agayn repentance, car 11 est Contraires 
the Hdly Gost, yit natheles, for au saint esperit qui est fontaine 
as moche as bounte aperteyneth de touz biens. Et Diex dist en 
proprely to the Holy Gost, and Feuvangile que qui pecche en- 
en vye comethproprely of malice, contre le saint esperit ja merci 

therfore is it proprely agayns the n'aura, car il pecche de 

bounte of the Holy Gost. sa propre malice (6). 

1 This entire section as far as " Tuit cist pecchie," &c., is placed 
at the end of the chapter. 


Now hath malice 11^ spices, 

. hardnes of hert in wicked- 
nes, — — (3). 

, 2 when a man warieth trouthe, 
and wot that it is trouthe, 

, whan he warieth the grace 
that God hath yeye to his 
neighebor ; 

and al this is by envye. Certes 
than is envye theworste synne 
that is, for sothely r (8). 

Compare below 

Et dois savoir qu'il sont VI pec- 
chiez, qui sont especiaument cen- 
tre ]e saint esperit, 

1. presumpcion (esperance) — 

2. desesperance 

3. obstinacions, c'est durtes de 
cuer, quant hons est endurcis 
en sa malice -r^ — ^ (3). 

4. despis de penitance (2). 

6. guerroier verite a son esci- 


6. guerroier la grace du saint 
esperit en autrui. 

Tuit cist pecchie sont contre la 
bonte du saint esperit — (2). 

C'est li pecchies qui plus adroit 
fait home resambler au diable, 
son pere. Car li diables ne het 
fors autrui bien et n'aime fors 
autrui mal ; (2). 

B. Classification* 

B. Classification. 

The spices of envye ben these : 

I. sorwe of other mennes 
goodnes and of her pros- 

perite (2). 

II. joye of other mennes harm ; 

and that is proprely lik to 
the devyl, that ever rejoy- 
eth him of mennes harm. 

Cist pecchies se devise en III 
branches principaus, car cist pec- 
chiez envenime. 

I. le cuer de I'envious. 

_ (8). 

Apres quant li envious oit 

ou voit autrui mal, — 

— (4) s'esjoist il en son cuer. 
Apres quant il voit ou oit 

le bien d'autrui, 

(2) lors li vient une dolour, 
une tristece au cuer — (4). 

> compare above. 

II. la bouche de I'envious. 


III. les oevres de I'envious. 



• (20). 

1 Clearly ihree follow. 

2 Prefaced by "that other spice of envy." This should evi- 
dently be "malice," as two other MSS., including Ellesmere, cor- 
rectly read. 



Of these 11^ spices cometh : 

1. backbiting or detraccioun. 

hath certein spices, as thus : 

a. som man praisith his neighe- 
hor hy a wickid entent, for 
he makith alway a wickid 
knotte atte last ende; al way- 
he makith a but (2). 

b. if a tQan be good, and doth 
or saith a thing to good en- 
tent, the backbiter wol tome 
al thilke goodnes up-so-doun 
to his schrewed entfent. 

c. to amenuse the bounty of his 

d.— — (3). 

in dispraysynge of him that 

men praise. 
e. for to oonsente gladly and 

herken gladly to the harm 

that men speke of other folk. 


2. grucching or mnrmura- 

som tyme it springeth of inpa^ 
I. agayns God 

Compare with the two other 
sins of the tongue following in 
E, the two corresponding sections 
from the " pecchiez de male 
langue," which are placed to- 
gether at the end of the 7 th 
deadly sin. 


(F 61—62). 


Et ceste branche a V fuelles : 

a. quant on contrueve mencon- 
ges e le mal por autrui alever 

b. quant le mal qu'il ot d'autrui 
il raconte avant.e il i ajouste 
du sien. 

d._ (4). 

quant on dist bien d'autrui' 
devant lui, toz jors il i trueve 
e i met un mes (4). 

e. quant il pei-vertist e tome 
tout a la pior partie quan- 
ques il voit e oit que on puet 
torner a bien e en mal 

c. quant il estaint e met a nient 
touz les biens que li hons 
fait — — . 

grondiller e mnrnmrer. 
F (67—68). 

-^-. ._-._(16). 

Cist pecchies si a II branches, 
I. li uns murmuracontre Dieu.^ 
Murmure contre Dieu a en- 
core assez plus d'achoisons. 

Car home 

(2) s'il nel fait selom sa vo- 
lente, tantost murmure con- 

' 1 2 MSS. seconde. 

2 According to the outline. In reality II. is elucidated first, 
but I retain the arrangement of the outline for the sake of more 
convenient comparison. 


Compare below. 

Agayns God |s it when 
a man grucchith agayn the 
pyne of helle, or agayns 
poverty, or of losse of catel, 
or agayns reyn or tem- 
pest, or elles grucchith that 
sohrewes han prosper ite, or 
ellis that goode men han 
adveysite ; -^ r^- r -rrr- (2). 

II. somtyme agains man ; com- 

a. of avarice^ ""^^.t"^ ^ ^' 
with exam- 

c. of envye 

- (3). 
- - (2). 
Murmuring eek is ofte 

among servauntz, — 


which wordes men clepe 
the d^veles Pater poster, 

d. of ire of prive hate 

tre Dieu et chante la pater 
nostre au singe, certes mais 
la chancon au diable. 
_ (6). 

Certes mout est tieus hons 
fous e forsenez qui vuelt 
qu'il li rende raison de quan- 
ques il a fait ; s'il li envoie 
adversitez, povretez, chier 
tens, pluie, seccheresce, s'il 
done a Tun e toult a I'autre, 


IT. e 'li autres contre home 

Cist pecchies est en mout 
de manieres comme en se- 
rians encoiitre lor seignors, 
-^^ (5). 

pompare above. 

Et naist eist murmures 
toutes tiex persones 

a. ou de inobedience 

b. oudeaccide 

c. ou de inpacience 

d. ou d'envie 

e. oudefelonie — ■, — 

ou d'autres racines mau- 


Thanne cometh eek. 
a, bitternes of herte — ^ 


p. discord — ^ — (2). 
y. scornyng of his 

d. accusyng. (4). 

6. malignity. (5). 

Op the chapter De Invidia, which occupies three pages, 
only the first page shows points of resemblance to the 
corresponding second chief de la beste, namely, A, B, I. —II. 
of the outline. The two sections corresponding with the 
two sins of the tongue, which follow, I have found under 

2 L 2 


the "pecchiez de male langue," placed at the end of the 
seventh deadly sin. 

Envy, after a short definition, is proved to be a sin 
against the Holy Ghost. This proof, which in F stands at 
the end of the chapter, and links on to it the six sins 
against the Holy Ghost, I have taken out of its place, and 
put opposite to the similar passage in E. In each case 
*' malice" is the link, which draws on the conclusion. 
Hence, I have discovered the " three spices of malice " (the 
text only announces two) amongst the six sins against the 
Holy Ghost. They correspond to E 3, 5, 6. We shall 
meet with the remaining three in E, in another connexion. 

The analysis of envy given in E, is not the same as 

Envy in the heart, E 1, since it manifests itself in two 
directions, may well have given occasion to the twofold 
division of envy in E. 

In the first sin of the tongue, 1. the same division into 
fiYe spices = fuelles is apparent at once. On a nearer 
comparison of these Ryq parts, we find a correspondence 
between E a, b, c, and E d, e, c. — I will only call attention 
to the similar expressions "to make a but," and "mettre 
un mes." — Between E e, and E b, a parallel might also be 

In the second sin of the tongue, 2. the train of thought, 
of which the main points are expressed in the twofold 
murmuring against God and man, is the same ; except in 
the slight difference of the motives to II., murmuring against 
man, and the different application of the " Devil's Pater 
ISToster" (in E to murmuring against God (1) ; in E to the 
murmuring of servants against their master). 

The five branches of " ire that cometh of envye," E 11. , 
a, j3, y, S, e, do not properly come under the head of envy, 
but rather under that of anger ; and, in fact, we shall find 
them there more fully elucidated. Here they are scarcely 
more than mentioned. 


Tlie result of the comparison of the second Deadly Sin 
is to show that the first part of this chapter in E (p. 303 — 
304, line 19) is in form and contents to a certain extent a 
condensation of the parallel chapter in F. I^ot only is 
every point of the outline to be found in the fuller one of 
F, but their elucidation bears in part a close resemblance 
to F (though it is true that it is also interwoven with ideas 
that find no place in F at all). Thus the reason why envy 
is a deadly sin, occupies eight lines. A similar relation 
exists between the second part of this chapter in E (p. 304, 
1. 19 — 306) and the passages already mentioned on *' pec- 
chiez de male langue " in F, but with the difference that 
the outline here cannot be fitted into that in F, but has 
certain deviations. Still what does correspond, corresponds, 
as in the first part, almost verbally. — To sum up : we have, 
in the first part, the same conclusion, that envy is a sin 
against the Holy Ghost, worked out through the same con- 
necting link, malice : the verbal agreement of the three 
"spices of malice" with the three sins against the Holy 
Ghost, F 3, 5, 6 : rejoyeth him of other mennes harm = 

s'esjoist il de autrui mal. — In the second part ; 

to make a but = met un mes ; torne = torne ; the same 
designation of murmuring as the develes Pater noster = la 
pater nostre au diable ; the same plan of arrangement. 



De Ira. Le III chief de la beste. 

F (308—321). F (29—31). 

A. Introduction ; A. Introduction : 

Definition according to Au- Li tiers chies de la beste est 
gustine and to philosophy. 


B. Analysis : B. Analysis : 

But ye schal understonde, that Mais tu dois savoir qu'il est. 
ire is in tuo maneres : 



I. that oon of hem is good. 
The good ire is by jalousy 
of goodnesse, thurgh which 
a man is wroth with wik- 
kidnes and ayeines wykkid- 

II. that other is wikke. 

Now understonde that 
wikked ire is in tuo man- 
eres, that is to sayn, 

1. sodeyn ire or hastif ife 

and thanne is it ve^nial. 

2. another ire is ful wicked, 
that cometh of felony * 

of herte, (2), 

this is deedly synne. 

This ire is so displesaunt to 
God, that it troublith his hous, 


and a ful greet plesaunce to the 
devel, for it is the develes fornays 
-^ - — - (30). 

Certes this cursed synne an- 
noyeth bothe ^ 

a. to his neighebor. 

for sothely almost al the 
harm that eny man doth 
to his neighebour cometh 
thurgh wraththe. 

b. -.^ — ^ 

for he ne spareth neyther 
for our Lord Jhesu Crist, 
ne his swete modir ; and 
in his outrageous anger 
and ire, alias! ful many 
oon at that tyme felith 
in his herte ful wikkedly, 
bothe of Crist, and eek of 
alle his halwes. 

c. to the man himsilf. 

it bynymeth fro man his 
witte and his resoun, and 
al his deboneire lyf spirit- 
uel, that scholde kepen his 
soule. Certes it bynymeth 
eek Goddis dewe lordschipe 
(and that is mannes soule) 
and the love of his neighe- 
bor ; hit stryveth eek al- 

I. une ire qui est vertu, 
que li prodome ont encontre 
le mal. 

II. une autre qui est vices mout 
grans, c'est felonie de cuer. 

dont issent mout de branches 
et principaument IV selom IV 
guerroiers que li felons a : 
d. a ses voisins e a ses 

proismes qui sont environ 


b. a Dieu. 

car ire et felonie seurporte 
et esprent si aucune f ois le 
cuer du felon par aucun 

adversite temporel 

, que il murmure 

centre nostre seignor et 
maugre Dieu et ses seins 
et jure et blaspheme contre 
Dieu et contre ses seins. 

a. a ly meismes. 

car quant ire SeUrpoi-te 
I'ome au torment et Tame 
et le Gors Si que li hons ne 
puet dormir ne reposer, — 
. (3>. 

1 3 MSS. read vilony ; again a later alteration, 

2 Here again, however, three points follow. 



day agayng trouthe ; it 
reveth him eek the quiete 
of his hert, and subvertith 
his herte and his soule. 

Of ire cometh these stynkynge 
engendrures : 


a. hate, that is old wrath the ; 

/3. discord, (2). 

y. werre and every maner of 
wronge that man doth to 
his neighebor in body or 
in cateh 

d. homicidie (manslaughter). 

is in divers wise : 
a', spirituel 

is in VI ^ thinges. 

a. by hate, 

j8'. by backbytyng — 


y\ in yeving of wik- 
kid counseil by 

fraude. (10). 

b'. bodily, 


Yit cometh ther of ire many 
mo synnes as wel in word, as in 
werk and thought ; 

c. a ecus qui sont desouz lui, 
c'est a sa femme et a sa 

maisnee. — • (4). 

Et de ceste branche naissent 
VII raincelez : 

a. contens. 

/3. rancuhe qui de- 

moere bu cuer. 
y. haine. 
d. melle. 
€. desirrieS de venj- 

^. homicide. 
ff. guerre mortelen- 

tre les amis. 

J" enumer- 

- (14). 

In E a number of sins of the tongue are added here, 
for the parallel to which in F we must again refer to the 
section on the " pecchiez de male langue." The only corre- 
spondences with the "tiers chies de la heste" (308 — 312) 
may be summed up as follows : 

Both texts, after a definition of the sin, analogous to 
that of Invidia, prefixed in E, ' distinguisli a righteous 
anger, i. e. anger against all that is evil, and with almost 
verbal agreement. Of sinful anger, E distinguishes be- 
tween "venial anddeedly synne," whilst in F the "venial 
synne" is not treated. 

1 Only three, however, are named. 


In E tMs sinful anger is next throngliout more than a 
page represented as deadly sin. '^ It is so displesaunt to 

God, that it troubleth his hons -. and is a ful greet 

plesaunce to the devel, for it is the develes fornays." The 
simile of the devil's furnace is then enlarged upon. Anger 
is the eternal all-devouring fire, continually kindled by pride 
and fed by rancour, "for rancour is norice and keper of 
ire : wban oones conceyved in berte, certein it wol lasten 
from oon Estren day until another Ester day." There can 
be no question that the basis of these ideas is to be found 
in two passages in E II. a. and II. /3, one of v^Mcb says, 

" car quant ire seurporte Tome c'est uns feus, qui 

gaste tous le biens de la maison ; '' and the other has 
^^rancune qui demoere ou cuer." 

The analysis which follows hereupon is in principle the 
same. E a, b, c, d, which I have arranged in the outline 
to correspond with E, are compressed into E a, b, c. The 
Person of Christ being given for God, is a characteristic of 
E, as other passages will show. 

Eurther than this, these points of the outline require 
no comment, as they correspond with tolerable exactness. 

Upon the concluding passage it must be remarked, that 
four out of the " YII rainselez," which E enumerates as 
gradual d